WSU Students Participate with Suicide Prevention Walk in Downtown Ogden

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University students will join the Northern Utah’s suicide prevention coalition (NUHOPE) in the ninth annual suicide awareness walk Sept. 24 in downtown Ogden.

The 1-mile walk, held in conjunction with Ogden’s Harvest Moon Celebration, will begin at 10 a.m. with a flag ceremony and an opening speaker on the corner of 25th Street and Lincoln Avenue.

The 2016 Utah Student Association board, made up of the student body presidents of 10 Utah universities and colleges, has agreed to make mental health its top priority this year. WSU student body president Greg Woodfield will attend the walk and encourage the campus community to do the same.

“Over the last two years we've lost three people on Weber State’s campus who I knew — people I associated with, spoke with and called a friend,” Woodfield said. “Oftentimes, I wonder what I could have or should have done. My goal is to help more people in need of mental health counseling by using the resources at Weber State and other universities.”

This year’s speaker will be Ret. Army Sgt. Josh Hansen, a two-tour Iraq war veteran who served as an IED (improvised explosive device) hunter. In 2007, Hansen was wounded in action and evacuated from Iraq to recover. His battalion lost six men in combat and another four to suicide once they returned home. Ever since his return, Hansen and his wife, Melissa, have devoted their lives to helping veterans with service-connected physical, mental and emotional injuries through their non-profit organization Continue Mission.

Continue Mission, like NUHOPE, is dedicated to raising mental health awareness and taking an active role in suicide prevention.

“This walk allows our community to honor the loved ones they’ve lost, to celebrate the survivors and to come together,” said Kristy Jones, NUHOPE chair. “It also brings awareness to suicide prevention, which is more important than ever now that Utah has the fourth highest rate of suicide deaths in the nation.”

Suicide is currently the leading cause of death among 10-17 year olds in the state, and much of NUHOPE’s efforts in suicide prevention focus on this age group. The group offers suicide prevention trainings throughout northern Utah and supports Hope Squads — school-level suicide prevention groups —  in schools throughout Davis, Morgan, Ogden and Box Elder School Districts.

“We are excited to have our Hope Squads lead the walk this year,” said Nathan Alexander, program coordinator at in the Dumke College of Health at Weber State and this year’s NUHOPE Walk Chair. “They’re a great example of suicide prevention efforts in the community, and their participation highlights the importance of addressing suicide prevention in our schools and throughout the community.”

Check-in for the walk begins at 9 a.m., Sept. 24 on the 200 block of 25th Street, where representatives from local organizations will distribute information. Walkers are encouraged to register early at nuhopeutah.org/nuhope-walk. Registration is free and attendees will receive a NUHOPE Walk T-shirt while supplies last.

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.

Contact:

Nathan Alexander, NUHOPE walk chair 
801-317-3884 • nathanalexander@weber.edu

Kristy Jones, NUHOPE chair
801-387-7753 • kristy.jones@imail.org

Gregory Woodfield, WSU student body president
801-626-6349 • gregorywoodfield@weber.edu

Author:

Nathan Alexander, NUHOPE walk chair
801-317-3884 • nathanalexander@weber.edu