SANDY, Utah – Levi Ernest is on a quest to end teen suicide in Utah. Ernest survived his own suicide attempt two years ago.
“I went into that dark hole,” Ernest said. “I said my wife and four kids: they’d be better off without me.”
Now, Ernest runs the Every Teen Seen movement. He organizes events every month to bring the issue of teen suicide into the spotlight.
“We are perpetuating this cycle if we don’t talk about it,” Ernest said.
Saturday, Every Teen Seen held a discussion in Sandy aimed at training people on how to assist teens experiencing a mental health crisis.
Angela Gilbert, a survivor of a suicide attempt who now works with teens in need, was the featured speaker.
“I want these teens that feel worthless – I don’t want them to take that into their adulthood,” Gilbert said. “I want them to know that they are worthy, that they all have value and that they all have purpose.”
She believes the best way to tackle the suicide problem, is to talk about the problem.
“We need to talk about it,” Gilbert said. “People that feel this way want to talk about it. They want someone to hear it. They get relieved when they can talk about it.”
Ernest hopes these discussions will help save lives and raise awareness about the growing trend of teen suicides in Utah. He says Utah’s teen suicide rate is well above the national average. He hopes his work will lower that rate by 50 percent.
You can find the Every Teen Seen website here.
You can find a link to Angela Gilbert’s website here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Utahns can also visit Hope4Utah and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for additional resources. You can also download the SafeUT app for instant, confidential crisis services.