September is Suicide Awareness Month. At the USU Extension Office in Cache County, Alisha Straatman and Tom Keady are two individuals working to provide suicide prevention resources to people throughout Utah.
“Extension is a part of Utah State that takes the research that is done on a campus level and distributes it out to the public,” said Straatman, the 4-H coordinator at Utah State University Extension.
One of its public programs deals with suicide prevention. Extension assistant professor, Tim Keady, has been working during Suicide Awareness Month to encourage conversations about suicide prevention.
“We're trying to take it out of the darkness and put it so it becomes just like asking someone about how they're feeling in the day,” Keady said.
Keady and his health and wellness team have been putting out articles and videos about suicide. They hope to reach people from Logan to the southern tips of Utah.
“The Navajo Nation in Utah especially needs some extra support and programming to help them in their communities,” Straatman said.
Keady sees good and bad news.
“Utah's numbers have been going down since approximately 2015, but now we're concerned about the increase in suicides during the COVID pandemic,” Keady said.
But they hope our efforts make the difference.
“Reach out to those that you know may be having struggles or having problems,” Keady said. “And we're doing a lot of things in schools starting in middle schools or intermediate schools to give people some good skills on how to prevent it.”