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Family brings awareness to Utah's youth suicide crisis after loss of son

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 19:47:49-04

HERRIMAN, Utah — A family dealing with a tragedy is trying to make sure no other family has to go through their pain of losing a loved one this devastating way.

“He was a great kid,” said 16-year-old Holden Binks’ mother, Bree Binks. “Always very curious, very cute he had great hair, he was excited, he was supposed to get his braces off pretty soon.”

On July 16, Holden Binks took his life. And now, his family is heartbroken, trying to pick up the pieces.

“We have moments with friends that are actually happy moments remembering Holden and we have sometimes when we cry ourselves to sleep. It’s been awful.”

Holden’s parents say he had run away from home before and was in therapy, but they found out later that he wasn’t taking his medication. He was struggling, but this drastic step came as a shock to them.

“I think Holden was happy on the outside, he just felt pretty hopeless on the inside,” said his mother, Bree Binks.

In 2020, suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10 to 24. And in 2019, Utah had the sixth highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the US.

Mindy Schriener with Huntsman Mental Health Institute says one thing families can look out for to see if their child needs help, is if they are withdrawing or isolating themselves.

“So not communicating with friends on the phone… a significant stressful event with friends. Also statements such as ‘I’m so tired of this, I don’t want to do this anymore or I can’t do this anymore,’” could be indicators of a deeper issue, said Schriener.

She adds that it’s important to create safe spaces to help people deal with their problems and be able to heal.

“One of the things that I think can be really helpful is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent to talk to when you’re having a hard time. If you can find someone, preferably an adult that you feel like you can connect with, that can be really helpful.”

Holden’s family is trying to help make sure no one else goes through this.

“In an effort to give Holden a legacy, we have decided to create a memorial foundation in his name and its sole aim is going to be to try to prevent other families locally from going through what we have to,” said his father, John Pestka.

The family says they are still brainstorming what the Holden Binks Memorial Foundation would do, but they want to focus on teaching kids and peers to look for signs of suicide and what their next steps would be, so lives can be saved. They want to focus on the local community and help connect people in need with the right resources.

“Trying to do something to help other families not have to experience this I think is going to help us cope and move forward in a positive way,” said Bree Binks.

If you want to get involved with the foundation, click here.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the mental health hotline, 988 or find a list of resources here -