LAYTON – It was all about preventing suicide at a town hall meeting last week.
Nearly 300 people of all ages attended the meeting, and heard ways they could help friends and neighbors who may be considering taking their own lives.
Suicide survivor Jeremy Stokes recounted his story. He said it was a decade ago, and he tried to end his life after returning from a military overseas deployment.
He recounted the help he’s received, how he’s now married and has three children. “He is doing really, really well,” said Karlene Kidman, who organized the event.
Admitting life is still a struggle, Stokes said he has “all the therapy and tools” he needs and “will never attempt to do it again.”
“If we can save one person from attempting suicide, get them the right resources and the right tools,” it’s all worth it, Kidman said.
She is the executive director of Layton Communities That Care.
About a year ago, a similar meeting was held at Syracuse High School. That followed up to 14 suicides in that city and Clearfield, many of them by young people.
QPR training was provided by Kristy Jones and Diana Abel. At its most basic, that involves questioning someone who you think might be exhibiting pre-suicide signs, persuading them to get help and referring them for that help.
The Hope Squads, which are suicide prevention groups for high schools, were also explained.
“We’ve got Hope Squads in place at Syracuse and Clearfield High Schools, and they are really making a difference with the kids and schools,” said Kristy Jones, with McKay-Dee Hospital.
Students are selected by their peers to serve on the squads, which are being expanded to include Layton and Northridge High Schools.
About two-dozen human service organizations also staffed booths with information related to suicide prevention.