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Utah launches first-ever Instagram suicide prevention training program

Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 06, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Ask Joe Tuia’ana what the Live On Suicide Prevention Playbook does and he has a simple answer.

“This program, Suicide Prevention Playbook will make uncomfortable conversations, comfortable conversations,” Tuia’ana said Tuesday at a news conference on Lehi’s Silicon Slopes.

The playbook is a series of 10 training sessions meant to teach anyone how to help someone who may consider taking their own life.

Live On is a coalition coordinated by the State of Utah with help from outside, like the tech experts on the Silicon Slopes.

"Utah does struggle. We've ranked historically in the top 10 states for suicide deaths," said Allison Faust, the state suicide prevention administrator.

Faust says the Playbook is the first training of its kind.

“So we are launching the world's first-ever suicide prevention training delivered entirely through Instagram,” she said. "We found that most Instagram users are between ages 18 and sort of 55, which is actually nearing our highest risk age group for suicide."

Tuia’ana is featured in the first video, released on Instagram on Tuesday. Another will come out each day until all 10 are available permanently.

In the video, he tells the story of the day he stumbled onto a stranger preparing to end his life.

"For what seemed like forever, I sat there cradling this young man in my arms and we cried together," Tuia'ana said. "All I could muster through my tears was, 'I love you, bro.'"

Now he texts "I love you, bro" to the man every Friday, and they sometimes get together. Tuia'ana's story is part of the Live On Playbook.

Tuia'ana saved one life in a dramatic unlikely moment. But most of us will never know if we saved a life.

"You don't need to be at the sight of a suicide attempt to save a life," he said. "Most of the time, saving a life looks like being present with the people you care about."