Voices of Hope Transcript - Hour 1
[ANNOUNCER:] Voices of hope is made possible by Sound Partners for community health, a program of the Benton Foundation, with support provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, additional funding was provided by Norman and Barbra Tanner, the Ester Foundation in partnership with Countrywide Loans, the Robert D. Kent Jr. Charitable Trust Fund and the contributing memebers of KUED. Thank you.
[JAN BRIMHALL:] Every, every holiday, every birthday, every time I set the dinner table and there’s one person that’s not there, we feel this big, you know, missing part of our life and it’s a part we ’ll never be able to fill. We’ll never be able to replace Cade, nor would we want to.
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] Um, Cade was very popular, very outgoing, average teenage boy. He’s all boy. He was into football and sports and rap music but my parents didn’t like that part. (laughs). Um, he was very welcoming. He was very, like, if you wanted a best friend, Cade would be, like, the ideal best friend to have.
[HOST 1:] CAMI BRIMHALL’S BROTHER, CADE, WAS A HANDSOME, OUTGOING YOUNG MAN. HE HAD LOTS OF FRIENDS, A LOVING FAMILY AND EVERYONE THOUGHT, A WONDERFUL, FULL -LIFE AHEAD OF HIM. BUT AFTER THE FIRST WEEK OF HIS FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL HE MADE A MISTAKE. HE CHOSE TO END HIS LIFE. HE WAS 14 YEARS OLD.
[HOST 1:] VOICES OF HOPE: SUICIDE SHOULD NEVER BE AN OPTION
[HOST 2:] WE ARE HERE TONIGHT BECAUSE OF CADE AND OTHERS LIKE HIM – YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO MADE THE IRREVOCABLE DECISION TO END THEIR LIVES. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE ARE HERE FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE CONTEMPLATING ENDING THEIR LIVES. OUR MAIN MESSAGE: “SUICIDE SHOULD NEVER BE AN OPTION”.
[HOST 1:] SUICIDE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR MALE TEENS IN UTAH. UTAH’S SUIDICE RATE IS HIGHER THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. BUT SUICIDE SHOULD NEVER BE AN OPTION. UTAH TEENS NEED TO KNOW THAT NO MATTER WHAT PROBLEMS THEY MAY FACE THERE IS HELP.
[HOST 2:] TEENAGERS THAT ATTEMPT OR DIE BY SUICIDE HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON: UP TO NINETY PERCENT SUFFER FROM SOME FORM OF UNTREATED OR UNDERTREATED MENTAL ILLNESS. WHEN A TEEN LIVES WITH MORE THAN ONE MENTAL ILLNESS, LIKE DEPRESSION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE, IT PUTS THEM IN THE HIGHEST RISK CATEGORY FOR DYING BY SUICIDE. ADD TO THAT OTHER LIFE STRESSORS SUCH AS A PHYSICAL ILLNESS, CONFLICT OVER SEXUAL IDENTITY, A RECENT DEATH, REJECTION OR OTHER LIFE CRISIS AND A TEEN CAN BECOME DANGEROUSLY OVERWHELMED. PROBLEMS MAY SEEM TOO CHALLENGING TO OVERCOME.
[HOST 1:] WE ASKED FIVE UTAH TEENS WHO HAVE HAD DIFFICULTLY IN THEIR OWN LIVES, WHO HAVE CONTEMPLATED OR EVEN ATTEMPTED SUICIDE, TO PRODUCE VIDEO MESSAGES ABOUT THEIR OWN STUGGLES AND HOW THEY FOUND HELP. JEFF LLOYD EXPERIENCED MAJOR DEPRESSION; IN HIS VIDEO HE QUESTIONS WHY MENTAL ILLLNESS IS TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER ILLNESSES.
[JEFF LLOYD:] My piece it’s it’s about teens and just the stigma that’s put on them, and I kinda focus in on why there’s that stigma and through all the people I’ve talked to that knows something about mental illness it just all seems to come down to like a lack of knowledge about mental illness and about where it comes from, and what causes it and all the different factors. My main challenge was just depression and a lot of social stuff, I had a lot of like social anxiety problems … but ya just have to tell yourself there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it and there always is, there never hasn’t been and there never hasn’t been a problem that’s been worked through in time, patience is another thing, ya learn a lot of patience…it’s one of the worst things having a mental illness and having to go to school because kids are just so ruthless…it’s an every day battle, ya learn to deal with it in different ways…I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that it’s all a disease, no matter what issue mentally or physically you’re struggling with it’s a disease whether it’s cancer, or it’s schizophrenia, deserve the same amount of respect and research even though it’s not out there. What I’d want the viewers to walk away with is just like an acceptance of those who are mentally ill, because they’re no really no different that any other person with any other sort of disease or disorder. All the stresses of a parent I can’t even imagine what it’d be like when you your kid is thinking about killing himself, I mean it ’s one thing for him to get hurt in like a car accident, but when it’s him wanting to hurt himself.
A VIDEO PIECE BY JEFF LLOYD
[JEFF LLOYD:] When I was in ninth grade I was hospitalized. It wasn't what you'd think of as a normal hospitalization, but it was. I was severely depressed and extremely angry, I was placed in the psych unit at Primary Children's Hospital, I remained there for six days. I was then transferred to Wasatch Canyons. I lived there for a month and then I did outpatient therapy for another month there. When I left I was feeling a lot better. I was on medication and had hundreds of hours of therapy. At these prior times when I was depressed I didn't want to do much and I was always angry. I was very emotionally abusive to my girlfriend, and my parents, especially my mom. You wouldn't have even noticed I was doing this if you didn't know me extremely well. I had developed a disease, it was starting to kill me, just as cancer does to a person who develops cancer, I was very ill. I was just a normal kid on the outside. At school I was in just your standard core classes, and I was nice to people at school. One day, I suddenly disappeared from school, no one ever had any idea where I went, except a few people.
[JEFF LLOYD:] What's your Disease?
[STUDENT:] I have Bi-polar.
[TEACHER:] My disease is Epilepsy.
[JEFF LLOYD:] Do you notice any difference in the students that you know have a mental illness, than the other students in your classes?
[JEANIE ANDERSON, COUNSELOR FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION:] Many times we don't recognize that a student has a mental illness unless we work with them individually, or the parents have come in and talked with us, or the student has come in and talked with us.
[ENGLISH TEACHER:] It's difficult to tell when a student has a mental illness until you get to know them better. Um, the signs are often subtle. Sometimes it’s a look. Sometimes it's it's expressed in their writing, sometimes it's just a a change in their behavior. Um, I think I have an advantage because I'm an English teacher and I get to read the writing um and also I have, my family has a history of mental illness, so I, I'm probably more aware of of those signs, and and the ways that that the students express them.
[JEANIE ANDERSON:] When we do find out the chil, if a child or a student has a mental illness, then we try and do what we can to provide help for them, whether it's a safe place to come to, whether it's talking to their psychiatrist or to the counselors that their seeing outside of school, but it does make a difference. We know who they are more inside, it isn't always obvious to other students that there's anything wrong with someone that has a mental illness, they hide it really well, and that's the thing I've noticed most of all, is they really hide it.
[JEFF LLOYD:] Why do you think there is more stigma with people with mental illness compared to a person with like cancer or heart disease, or one of those recognized physical illnesses?
[JOLLEE LLOYD, REGISTERED NURSE:] I truly believe it's a lack of understanding in our society and has been for years. It's gone on for centuries that people with any type of mental illnesses had issues or problems with fitting in society on on many situations, I think the unpredictability um makes it frightening for a lot of people who are around people with mental illness, and I think maybe because you can see something on an MRI or an X-ray or something like that with a regular uh physical illness it's easier to pinpoint or say, this is the problem, or this is exactly what it is, and where with a lot of mental illnesses that's not that easy to do.
[JULIE LLOYD, PARENT:] I think the answer to that's really quite simple, I think it boils down to education, people hear all the time in the news media about how to prevent cancer, how to prevent heart disease, we know the different life styles we can live to help us overcome those or to be more preventative in those areas, but mental illness is almost a taboo subject. People I think are afraid to discuss it and I think education is a big part of overcoming that fear.
[JOHN LLOYD:] I think it's based on a lack of understanding, especially the roots of some mental illnesses. If you don't have a friend or a family member that's suffered through it, then you don't have an understanding of what it's like and what the causes are and what the treatments are. I think that there's a lot of misconceptions out there that some how people brought a mental illness on themselves, almost like a psychosomatic illness as opposed to many of the roots of mental illness relate to chemical imbalances etc.
[JEFF LLOYD:] As a conclusion I'd like to ask everybody to please stop the stigma with mental illness, that it's so hard to be a person with mental illness and just have to have that much more to cope with with all the stigma that's out there. I would really hope and appreciate people to just stop it, that we are sick and that there really isn't a lot that we can do about it, especially when it's a chemical imbalance in the brain.
[JEFF LLOYD:] Contemplating suicides a difficult issue, ya know cuz you can look at it from either side, you can look at it from the never being there in those shoes and looking at it as a selfish way out, or you can look at it in the person who’s in the suicide shoes and contemplating and that’s a very hard place to be and nobody ever likes being there but either, either side I really think it’s just hope, ya know you just gotta view it with a ounce of hope, that it will be okay, and it will it just its time, time is of the essence when you’re sad and depressed and suicidal, and ya just need to stick it out, even though it’s hard it’s just stick it out and be patient.
[HOST 1:] DOUGLAS GRAY IS A CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, AN EXPERT IN THE STUDY OF YOUTH SUICIDE PREVENTION.
[DR. GRAY:] ...When you look at completed suicide it’s primarily males, 90% male. If you look at attempted suicide it’s primarily female, 90% female. Uh, males tend to use firearms. Of course there’s no second chances there. Females tend to use less violent means, such as overdose, which can be very dangerous, but with our technology and our intensive care units now a days many of those kids can be uh, saved.
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] … anyone can have problems. Anyone can be dealing with depression and so much so that you’re walking down the halls at school and I guarantee lots of people walking down that hall with you are struggling with things that you’ll never know and things that are harder than your struggles or not as hard but it’s everyone’s different things…
[HOST 2:] CAMI IS RIGHT, YOU MAY NOT REALIZE IT, BUT EVERYONE HAS PROBLEMS AT SOME TIME IN THEIR LIFE. BUT ACCORDING TO A 2004 STUDY BY THE UTAH STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH MORE THAN 27% OF UTAH YOUTH REPORTED THEY HAD FELT SO SAD OR HOPELESS ALMOST EVERYDAY FOR TWO OR MORE CONSECUTIVE WEEKS THAT THEY STOPPED DOING SOME USUAL ACTIVITIES.
[HOST 1:] ACCORDING TO DOCTOR GRAY, THAT’S ONE OF THE KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF: DO YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS INTERFER WITH YOUR LIFE?
[DR. GRAY:] …think back over the last couple of weeks. What percentage of the time have you been happy? And if the majority of the time you say “yeah, I’ve been a happy person. I had that one day where I was upset and I didn’t do well but you know, that’s a good sign. If it’s hard to remember when you were happy last, that’s a concern. If you feel a lot of distress, if you feel stressed all the time, you can’t relax, you’re frustrated, that’s a concern, and if you’re not functioning the way you used to. If you used to be able to do well in school and you were doing well with your friends and you’re just not functioning in the same manner, that’s a concern.
[HOST 2:] MANY TIMES A TEEN MAY KNOW THEY NEED HELP BUT ARE RELUCTANT OR EVEN AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT THEIR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS BECAUSE THEY THINK ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS OR FAILURE, DUE TO THE KIND OF SOCIAL STIGMA AND STEREOTYPING THAT JEFF LLOYD TALKED ABOUT.
[HOST 1:] JAN BRIMHALL IS THE MOTHER OF CAMI AND CADE BRIMHALL.
[JAN BRIMHALL:] …I feel like there’s a, a big stigma with any kind of a mental health issue, um, and it’s like I had said if, if one of my boys were playing a football game and was injured and broke their arm, I’d immediately take them to the doctor and get it x-rayed and get them medical help. But for some reason, as a society if someone says, you know, I’m depressed or I just feel like crying all the time or I feel angry, we don’t know how to handle that. We, we just kind of, we’re not sure what to do so sometimes we don’t do anything.
[DR. GRAY:] Stigma is a big issue with mental illness. And when we look at kids that die from suicide, most of them uh, were not in, actually very few of them were getting any treatment. And when we ask the parents and their friends what was going on they say “well they were embarrassed about having an illness.” They did not deny they had an illness um, they didn’t think treatment would work. And so stigma has really kept those kids from getting the help they need.
[HOST 1:] MENTAL ILLNESS AFFECTS THE BRAIN JUST LIKE PHYSICAL ILNESSES AFFECT THE BODY. LIKE PHYSICAL ILLNESS, MENTAL ILLNESS REQUIRES PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT.
[HOST 2:] THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF MENTAL ILLNESS AMONG TEENS ARE MOOD DISORDERS SUCH AS DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY AS WELL AS SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS SUCH AS SUBSTANCE ABUSE OR ADDICITION. UNTREATED OR UNDERTREATED MENTAL ILLNESS CAN LEAD TO MORE SERIOUS PROBLEMS AND EVEN DEATH!
[HOST 1:] SO WHEN SHOULD YOU ASK FOR HELP? HERE ARE SOME SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR:
-CHANGES IN MOOD, PERSONALITY AND ENERGY
-CHANGES IN EATING AND SLEEPING PATTERNS
-LACK OF EMOTION OR EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS
-BIZARRE BEHAVIOR OR SPEECH
[HOST 2:] -FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS
-THOUGHTS OF HARMING YOURSELF OR OTHERS
-THOUGHTS OF DEATH OR DYING
-DRUG OR ALCOHOL ABUSE OR ADDICTION
[HOST 1:] JACOB SHORT WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD WHEN HE BEGAN TO SHOW SYMPTOMS OF MENTAL ILLNESS. BY THE AGE OF TEN HE HAD THOUGHTS OF TAKING HIS OWN LIFE. WHEN HE WAS TWELVE, HE WAS FINALLY DIAGNOSED WITH BI-POLAR DISEASE AND STARTED APPROPRIATE MEDICATION AND TREATMENT. NOW HE WORKS FOR UTAH CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL OR NAMI AND SPEAKS OUT TO EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS.
[JACOB SHORT:] … if you have mental illness, your known as crazy you should be locked up, and that case isn’t true. So I kinda wanted to get that message out there and just for family to be involved, it’s very important for the family to be invo lved with it…when I see other kids going through the same problems or committing suicide I can just, I feel terrible for them and their family because I know what it’s like, I’ve never gone all the way, but I’ve come very very close to have to go get my ya know get my stomach pumped and I was very close to death and so I can understand their feelings and um that’s why I’m involved with NAMI, to try to reduce the stigma because people don’t talk about it…The main thing that I want people to learn from this is to talk about their feelings, ya know a lot of people bottle it up inside until they explode, even natural anxiety, if you don’t have a chemical imbalance, or you don’t go to work if you just feel stressed at work, come home and talk about it with your family, tell them your feelings and communicate ya know at the dinner table explain how your day was, I know that ’s how they used to do it in old movies and how America used to be, but now it’s you have to hide everything because it’ll be a sign of weakness and it’s not. I think the weakness is not being able to be brave enough to share it.
A VIDEO PIECE BY JACOB SHORT
[NARRATOR:] After four years of multiple diagnosis, Jake was finally diagnosed as bi-polar at age twelve, we didn't know exactly what we were up against with this disorder, but with the help of compassionate knowledgeable doctors, we began to understand.
[DR. FERRE, PSYCHIATRIST:] We are still at a very early stage of understanding the brain, it's been in a skull that we haven't been able to crack very easily. It's like you got a car and sometimes you can't get it above ten miles an hour that's depression, your brain can't get going, there's times when you go in the mania, that's 80 miles an hour and you've gotta get out of the short lane you gotta keep pushing people out of your way cuz your going to fast. Okay. That's the brain not regulating it's energy. The name of that when you go back and forth is called manic depressive illness, now it's called bi-polar, they're the same thing.
[NARRATOR:] What causes mental illness?
[DEAN KENNINGTON, THERAPIST:] Mental illness can be caused by life events. By genetic factors, by birth defects, mental illness can be temporary or more lasting.
[NARRATOR (JAKE’S MOM):] Bi-polar and other mental illnesses are no respecter of persons. It effects the rich, poor, educated or uneducated, anyone can become affected.
[DR. FERRE:] We're talking about that which is an illness that effects probably 20 million Americans and it's a change in the way a person regulates their mood their thinking and they way they act and feel.
[THE LATE VICKI COTTRELL, 1946-2005, NAMI UTAH:] The symptoms of this illness, these illnesses are behavioral, behavioral symptoms can cause a great deal of turmoil. All people really want to know is that it's not their fault, so just put your arms around someone and say ya know, this is not your fault, it's nobody's fault. It's a disease and that is so important that we comfort those who are in such, such serious difficulty. The myths and the misconceptions about mental illness, that mental illness the first, ya know one of the myths is mental illness is due to sin. Ya know there is sin and sin makes us feel sad and worn out, and it is a very difficult thing, but it doesn't cause mental illness.
[NARRATOR:] On a previous KUED special on mental illness, the late Vicki Cotrell and Dr. Ferre were interviewed about the stigma of mental illness. On the same KUED special Jake and his parents voiced their opinion about the stigma given to mental illness.
[DOUG FABRIZIO, HOST:] What about the rest of you, why the reasons for the stigma, why is it continuing?
[VICKI COTTRELL:] Well I think that mental illness is certainly something, because it's the symptoms are behavioral, I mean we're supposed to be in control of our behaviors, our thoughts our feelings, it's all, ya know, about controlling ourselves, and changing our minds, changing our attitudes, sing a happy song in the morning, if you're not doing well, pray harder, do other things that contribute to making our minds function better. Because that's what we've been told works.
[JAKE’S MOM:] They shouldn't be treated any differently they shouldn't be there shouldn't be a stigma against them of, "Oh my gosh, ya know, this kid takes a medication," or "This kid's in resource and so therefore he's not as good as we are." That people need to know that they're just the same as the rest of us. They just have a problem that we might not have and that we might have a problem that they don't have.
[JAKE’S DAD:] There's nothing to be ashamed of having a child that has a mental illness. I mean, it's no different than if they had diabetes, anything else. There's something missing from the brain and if caught early enough, if treated early enough, it can be taken care of.
[ANNOUNCER:] Jacob has his own advice for others who suffer from or suspect that they may have a mental illness.
[JACOB SHORT:] If you want to keep living the way that you're living, which is not very fun, fine go ahead, but you'll miss out of everything of life, so if someone says you might have a problem, or if you feel that you might have a problem, just deal with it. If some one says, like when I was diagnosed with bi-polar, I had no problem, because I know the way I was feeling is not normal. And the way i could see in other people's lives the way they're always happy and I'm always hiding and can't do anything, I knew my life wasn't normal, and so when i was diagnosed with bi-polar I just, I wanted to get better because I didn't want to live like that.
[NARRATOR:] What does the future hold for those with mental illness? For Jake the future is bright. Jake has come from the depths of despair to living life to its fullest, he just graduated from Brighton High School with honors. He loves basketball, softball, camping, boating, water and snow skiing. He is planning a mission for his church and planning to go on to college. He is presently working with the Utah Juvenile Justice System and Nami Utah in educating those who work with troubled youth. He has also been chosen as an ambassador for First Lady Huntsman's new program entitled Power in You. He will be speaking throughout the state with other ambassadors to give hope to other youth. Jake is happy, loving and fun and he has great hope for the future.
[JACOB SHORT:] the reason I had it at the church is for one to explain to those people what mental illness is and why some one would um commit suicide…Speaking out on mental illness is very important to me because I want to help people that have are going or have gone through situations such as mine, or my sisters is, it’s very ya know people feel alone and this way they can know that there are other people out there that have it.
[HOST 2:] SPEAKING OUT IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH. IF YOU THINK YOU NEED HELP YOU NEED TO ASK FOR HELP. TALK TO AN ADULT YOU TRUST. IF THE FIRST PERSON YOU TALK TO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND, TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE. DON’T STOP ASKING UNTIL YOU GET THE HELP YOU NEED!
[HOST 1:] ULTIMATELY YOU DO NEED TO TALK TO YOUR PARENTS SO THEY CAN HELP YOU GET THE TREATMENT YOU NEED. UNFORTUNATELY CADE NEVER TOLD HIS FAMILY HE WAS HAVING PROBLEMS.
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] …Although we keep not necessarily secrets but there’s, you just don’t want to tell your parents everything and there’s things you’d rather tell your best friend then tell your parents, but when there really is a problem and there really is something that needs to be done, your parents or whoever you decide to tell, like, they will be there and they will help you and it’s not, like I know my parents would use every resource they have if I had a problem and I needed help.
[JAN BRIMHALL:] …Well often times our children have different ways of communicating and young men for some reason have a more difficult time sharing feelings.
[HOST 2:] RICHARD BRIMHALL, IS CADE AND CAMI’S FATHER.
[RICHARD BRIMHALL:] …young men don’t seem to communicate with each other and because they maybe think it’s a sign of weakness but unfortunately we’ve grew up in a society where we think that is but that, the kids need to make their feelings known and not be ashamed of those feelings and express what they’re feeling and get help from, like Jan said, a special friend and a counselor or somebody in their church but just tell somebody and don’t hold those feelings up within you because that just compounds to the feelings.
[HOST 1:] LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES CAN PILE ON TOP OF AN UNTREATED OR UNDERTREATED MENTAL ILLNESS AND TAKE A TEEN TO THE BREAKING POINT:
[DR. GRAY:] …Sometimes when somebody’s under stress they have a daydream about suicide but they, they know they’d never really harm themselves and they have no intention of doing that and, it’s fleeting and they’re sort of back to normal pretty quickly. But if um, suicidal feeling persist and come and go and they’re not going away, especially if they’re getting worse, and especially if the person has distress and dysfunction from some type of illness going on with their brain, uh, they really need to get help.
[HOST 2:] AMBER PETERSON WAS ABUSED AS A YOUNG CHILD AND HAS LIVED WITH MENTAL ILLNESS FROM AN EARLY AGE. SHE LOVES DRAWING, WATCHING MOVIES AND LISTENING TO MUSIC. SHE WROTE A SONG AND CREATED A MUSIC VIDEO ABOUT HER DESIRE TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTIES SHE’S FACED AND HER DESIRE TO BE TREATED LIKE ANY OTHER TEENAGER.
[AMBER PETERSON] …I put it that way because I think music expresses a lot that words really don’t really describe that much, like words don’t really say a lot, but like music kinda reaches out to people and it kind of helps them understand what what people go through without actually having to have someone explain it to em...the words themselves describe, describe a person going through hard times towards the beginning of their experience and working to make it better, like depression can't go away, but you can stop it from not ruling your life time. Well the viewers are going to see that um that the experience kinda the experiences sorta like from being bad and good. Um, like like with my my nephew, like my relationship with people around me and some of it’s going to based on like some of the really dramatic parts of my exp life that are like the most important…
…Oh the Further and further you go means the further and further you fly when your trying to help yourself your showing yourself who you are, and so both of those are really important with the world it’s kinda showing you trying to show the world that you’re not as different as everybody else, and that your moving further says I can move further and I can be like everybody else, and just because I’m mentally ill doesn’t mean I can’t move forward like everybody else…
A MUSIC VIDEO BY AMBER PETERSON
Every morning I wake up and wonder who and what I am. Always wondering what the day will bring always trying to do my best.
CHORUS: Oh the further and further you’ll go means the further and further you’ll fly. When you’re trying to help the world you’re showing the world who you are.
Everyday I wish for others to treat me as they treat themselves, but the more I try to make them see the more hurtful they become.
Everyday I try to change myself always trying to fit in, but the more I try to be like them the more fake I’ve become.
When I look in the mirror and see a person as normal can be. Then I know that I’m no different then others perceive me to be.
Oh the further and further you’ll go means the further and further you’ll fly. When you’re trying to help yourself, you’re showing the world who you are.
Oh the further and further you’ll go means the further and further you’ll fly. When you’re trying to help yourself, you’re showing yourself who you are.
[AMBER PETERSON:] … I wanted to get a message across to a lot of teenagers a lot of adults and older folks a lot alike to realize that there are people like me and that are have problems and stuff and that they had to realize we maybe a little slow at catching things, and that we do need help from other people, but that it doesn’t deter us from moving forward, trying to make our future better and stuff and trying to have people accept us.
[DR. GRAY:]...these kids are just normal kids. They don’t look different then other kids and it might be your best friend or somebody you know at school who you really enjoy. When they’re ill they’re really struggling. When they’re treated they’re functioning just like everybody else.
[HOST 1:] WHEN A TEEN ISN’T GETTING HELP FOR A MENTAL ILLNESS OR SOME OTHER OVERWHELMING LIFE SITUATION HE OR SHE CAN EXTREME FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS, DESPAIR AND THINK THE MOST TERRIBLE THOUGHTS, LIKE MISPERCEPTION THAT FAMILY AND FRIENDS WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THEM. THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS WILL NOT BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THEM.
[HOST 2:] AND SOMETIMES IN MOVIES, ON T.V. OR IN OTHER SITUATIONS, SUICIDE IS GLORIDIED – THAT’S A MISTAKE. LOVED ONES MAY WANT TO HONOR THE PERSON WHO DIED, OUT OF LOVE FOR THEM, BUT CHOOSING TO TAKE YOUR OWN LIFE IS A MISTAKE.
[HOST 1:] TEENS WHO CHOOSE TO TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES ARE NOT THINKING CLEARLY. IT’S IS NOT THEIR FAULT, THEY NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP AND THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE. YOU CAN GET WELL, SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND LIVE A SUCCESSFUL LIFE. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE AND THAT IS WHY SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION!
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] No one’s family would be better off without them. Like, although it might seem like something at the time when you’re in that deep depression. No one's, like I can guarantee you my family’s not better off without Cade. You walk into the house and everyday it’s like you hope you’re, please, just please let someone be there.
You know, just let, like, Cade be there…you can’t bring someone back from the dead. You can ’t and it’s not worth it. Like there’s, really like the next day, you’ll feel better, a little bit better, maybe better enough that you can talk to your parents, that you can do something. But in that split second and that split decision is not going to make it better. It’s not going to change that sadness it’s like, it’s just running from your fears which isn’t going to help anything.
[HOST 2:] FROM THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER TO BEING HOMELESS LUKE TODD CAN IDENTIFY WITH BECOMING OVERWHELMED WITH LIFE. BUT AFTER SEEKING HELP HE IS FINISHING HIS EDUCATION, MAKING PLANS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE AND HELPING OTHERS. WHEN LUKE WAS 14 YEARS OLD HIS LIFE CHANGED FOREVER. HE CHOSE TO TALK ABOUT THAT EVENT, AND HOW HE MANAGED TO WORK THROUGH IT AND GET TO WHERE HE IS TODAY.
[LUKE TODD] I suffer from depression, and a lot of that was because my dad took his own life…with a mental illness, and the way I was raised, I really didn’t feel like I was, I never really like had a home so I chose to become homeless just to because I ’ve been rejected by so many people and I just wanted to see if they would be the same kind of people who would reject me, just like everyone else did. That’s kind of why I became homeless. I learned from being homeless to be grateful for the things you have, and I got out of my depression at that time period because I was volunteering, serving people, loving people, which was a big wake up call to me, that’s when I realized I had all this love to give people and I didn’t give it to people before, family members, anybody, so I just kinda like held it in, and it helped me to give my life by serving people and not keeping it in and just being a taker and stuff like that. My main message to teens is, it’s gonna be hard and if you have a mental illness, your gonna feel like restrictions are placed over your head and you can’t do everything that you wanna do, but you can, you just start to get to that point, you gotta choose to move forward, and if your just gonna sit in your crap your not gonna gain anyway, I mean if that’s the way your gonna live your life you can but I wouldn’t because you won’t be happy my core thing, is that you have a choice I mean over if you live or die, if you choose to be suicidal or if you choose to heal yourself and it's up to you, and that's my core thing it's just making that choice and following through with it.
A VIDEO PIECE BY LUKE TODD
[LUKE TODD:] Five years ago today we buried my father and he chose to take his own life. He decided that he wanted to give up on his kids, let go of his kids and he committed suicide and and destroyed my life. I lost my father the person who gave me life. And I miss him. I got so bad I would get depressed really bad and stay depressed and he would, I mean I would just give up on life I didn’t care about anything, about life or anything because I just wanted to end up like my dad, I wanted to die. Just so I could be like him. All my suicide attempts from them, were, every single one of em, had a motive. It wasn’t to die, I wasn’t to get people, I guess it was, to get people to feel sorry for me. I wanted people to love me and pay attention to me and know I exist, I didn’t feel like that. Most people when they get to that depressed they do that, they just give up, they don’t care about, I didn’t care. Every, like I said, the first suicide attempt was to get my family to notice me. And to the parents of the kids please don’t get burned out with your kids if they do this, please don’t let them go. Show them you care, that’s what they need, that’s the whole reason why most people kill and try and commit suicide, because they want attention, they want to be heard. So just listen to your kids. And love em. You don’t have to be suicidal anymore, you can live, and it was the biggest wake up call of my life because it made me realize, you know what, I’m still here, I’m still living, and I haven’t given up. I choose to live. Because I love my life, I love what it’s taught me, I love how it’s hard, I’m so glad for that because of the health, strength and wisdom I have. Many people my age, people believed in me and that’s why I got through this. I also choose to live because that’s what my dad would want me to do, and I honestly feel he helped me get through this, he kept me alive, and to the people who’ve had somebody in their life killed themselves, as my father did, you can get through this. I’ve forgiven my father for the choice he made, and I'm at peace with him, and it only took me five years. And I’m grateful for that. Because it’s given me a greater understanding of my dad, and everything, life. My dad has given me more life since he’s been gone, he's been giving me the chance of life, the chance to understand life fully and I'm taking it. I love you dad.
[LUKE TODD:]...it was hard, but I choose to speak out because I realize I have a voice, before I was told I never had a voice, just to keep quiet, and I love it. I love speaking out, because, just me speaking out just once every time it helps somebody else. I don’t even realize it, and that’s what gives me joy, just a little peace, something I said helped them make their life better, and that’s why I did it. And I’ll keep doing it for the rest of my life.
[HOST 1:] AS LUKE SAYS, IT MAY BE DIFFICULT, BUT WITH HELP YOU CAN GET THROUGH ANY PROBLEM. MAYBE YOU HAVEN’T FELT THE WAY LUKE HAS, BUT PERHAPS A FRIEND OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS. IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS STRUGGLING AND MAY BE THINKING ABOUT TAKING THEIR OWN LIFE, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION! DO NOT KEEP IT A SECRET!
[JAN BRIMHALL:] …The day that Cade died he had mentioned to a number of friends that he was thinking about hurting himself and um, almost, I think the police said there were ten different people he had mentioned that too and um, they didn’t give that information to anyone and, and those kids didn’t know what to do that information and consequently didn’t tell anyone and that could have made a big difference for Cade had they known that they could tell someone and that it would be okay
[RICHARD BRIMHALL:] …if kids say something take it seriously these kids, uh, maybe they’re not going to hurt themselves but obviously it happened to our son and try to, you know, get some help, don’t just think it’s not going to happen because we’re here to tell you it does happen.
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] … it’s not going to hurt you to go into the school counselor and to talk to him or to mention it to someone’s parents. It’s not going to do anything besides the fact of saves someone’ s life. I regret that my brother’s friends didn’t tell. Like, I don’t blame them but uh, I did at one point, and I think that it’s silly not to tell. It’s silly to think that your better then something like that or that you, you can deal with something like that on your own cause you can’t.
[HOST 2:] IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS STRUGGLING CHECK IN WITH THEM FROM TIME TO TIME WHEN YOU’RE ALONE. ASK HOW THEY ARE DOING? ASK THEM IF THEY ARE GETTING THE HELP THEY NEED? ASK IF THEY NEED YOU TO ASSIST IN SEEKING HELP FOR THEM.
[HOST 1:] KATHRYNE JACKSON, OR KAT, HAD A DIFFICULT CHILDHOOD AND LIVED WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLESS FROM AN EARLY AGE. BUT SHE WAS AFRAID TO TELL HER FIRENDS. AFTER GETTING THE TREATMENT SHE NEEDED SHE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND IS NOW WORKING AND LIVING ON HER OWN.
[RACHEL (KAT) JACKSON:]… I was inspired to write this poem because I had a friend who was, I just wanted so desperately to let her know who I really was and what I was going through at the time because I was so in so much mental stress and I was afraid that no body would accept me so really the key line of this poem is what would you do…the setting for the interview where I’m with my old therapist is a coffee shop that is actually my high school that I was going to up at Cottonwood and this cafe really for the first time of my life I felt like I was a success I chose to do my piece with a manner of my talking with my old therapist in just kinda before after view Also in my piece I have my little sister and a few of my friends and stuff, with my little sister it was really symbolic for me at times when I was playing with my sister and stuff because it was kinda my embracing my childhood because as a child I had a really hard childhood with a lot of abuse and just a lot of dealing with really strong emotions and hallucinations that no child should have to go through… when I was 8 years old I started trying to kill myself because I was so emotionally distraught and there was abuse in my life that I didn’t know how to speak out, how to say, “really I need help,” I didn't know how to speak. For me there was really two core things that helped me to turn around, ya know one of them was where I discovered that where there’s a will there’s a way, if your decide that I am willing to stick through this no matter what gets thrown at me, well then it’s possible …and then the other major thing was actually just ya know spiritual, ya know when I really just started embracing my relationship with God and Christ and everything
A VIDEO PIECE AND POEM BY RACHEL (KAT) JACKSON
[RACHEL (KAT) JACKSON:]
What would you do if I told you the truth,
Would it be too much?
What would you do?
Would you scream and cry?
Or would it end our friendship?
What would you do if I showed you the proof,
Hard facts you can't deny.
Then what would you do?
Would you want to keep it hidden?
Or would you lose your lunch?
What would you say?
What would you do?
But I cannot tell you,
I cannot show you,
I am too afraid.
But one day maybe
I can trust you.
What would you do?
[BECKY ANDERSON:] I think going into the whole thing it was such, it was a dramatic picture, I mean, even before I met you I remember speaking with your parents who were broken hearted, and then talking about their baby whose only goal in life was to end her life. And often I hear lots and lots of stories about lots and lots of kids, and when I meet them, or I meet their parents, I realize that there may have been some exaggerated points, and so I was waiting for that when I met you. Um, and what I found was that there was no exaggeration. I remember one of one of the points of your post traumatic stress is that you would have those night terrors and you would rub the skin, you looked like a skeleton, you had rubbed all the skin off of your fingers and your hands and I remember just looking at you and just thinking my heart was going to break because you were in so much pain and I remember thinking to myself in that moment, if there's anything I can do in my life for this kid, I'm gonna do it. I think you may have verbalized that your goal at Alpine would be to figure out how to try and kill yourself. I mean not only were you not able to look at goals five or ten years from now, you were not able to look at the day past the day we were in, and how sad that was and as far as ya know, talking about an emotional aura around somebody, it was the deepest abyss, the darkest abyss I had ever seen in another human being. And watch you be able to deal with a traumatic situation that you have no, no part in and see you rise above to doing stuff, or helping other people, like what's better than that. For someone to meet you now would have no idea just how creative, just how courageous you had to be to I'm gonna say to claw, dig, bit your way through that abyss you were in to a person who is so prolific, doing many things, in charge of things, and have big plans, and getting jobs and boyfriends, and all that kind of stuff is absolutely fantastic.
[RACHEL (KAT) JACKSON:] Christmas day, not last year, but the year before, I don't know how to describe it, it was like the worst day of my life and the best day of my life at the same time. Ya know my family came over and my best friend came over to the hospital to visit me in the morning, and so did my boyfriend James, but I wasn't really there. And then I went back upstairs and spent a lot of time, just time in seclusion because I was so out of control, and finally I was out of seclusion and I was in my room and that was the last time I cried, was that day. I found a tack in the carpet and I just cut my arm and I just realized on some level that I needed more help, that I was beyond ya know, I had been told that medications wouldn't do it to me, for me while I was in there, that I was completely resistant to medication. And they were saying at that time, before Christmas, they were saying I would be in the hospital for the rest of my life and, ya know, that's what they saw for my future at that point and it was just like this one moment I realized that I was just so far gone, I needed help, and I guess I said the most meaningful prayer that I had ever said in my life, consisted of one word and I didn't really say it, I screamed it, ya know, and I just screamed, help at the top of my lungs and then I just kinda clapsed on my floor in the room and just laid there, and then crawled back in my bed and went to sleep and I was just like peace, ya know and even when I left Alpine, I wasn't at a point of peace, I was, ya know, at a point of being able to survive. I wasn't even yet to a living stage, I was, ya know, I was beyond slowly dying and suffering to surviving, and ya know just waking up the next morning having experienced peace, it was just blew my mind, and so then it just was a shift. And I realized that I'm home free, I'm okay, let's go.
[RACHEL (KAT) JACKSON:] …don’t give up, what ever you do, because, suicide is giving up. I mean you may, I mean somebody who told me that 5 years ago, I’d say no it’s not, it’s looking for an answer, it’s looking for a solution. It is not a solution, it’s giving up.
[HOST 2:] KAT IS RIGHT, “DON’T GIVE UP”. IF THE FIRST PERSON YOU ASK FOR HELP DOESN’T KNOW THE ANSWER, GO TO THE NEXT PERSON AND THE NEXT.
[HOST 1:] A LOT OF TEENAGERS ARE AFRAID OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN THEY ASK FOR HELP. WILL THEY LOCK ME UP? WILL I BE IN THE HOSPITAL? ACCORDING TO DR. GRAY HIS JOB, THE JOB OF ANY TREATMENT PROFESSIONAL IS TO HELP PREVENT A CRISIS AND KEEP TEENAGERS HEALTHY AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. THOSE THAT END UP IN THE HOSPITAL OR IN CRISIS ARE THE ONES THAT DON’T SEEK TREATMENT.
[DR. GRAY:] They’re avoiding it and so then it all crashes down in a crises moment and they end up in the hospital. So if you come in for an outpatient evaluation basically we’re just going to sit and talk. We try to come up with a plan that everyone agrees to. The teenager, the parents and the psychiatrist so we’re all in the same page. We write that plan down and we follow it and kids get better.
[HOST 2:] TREATMENT MAY INCLUDE THERAPY OR MEDICATION. IT MAY ALSO INCLUDE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH AND MAKE BETTER LIFE CHOICES, SUCH AS FORMING POSITIVE FRIENDSHIPS, LEARNING PROBLEM SOLVING AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS, EXERCISE, GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP, A ND EATING HEALTHY FOOD TO NOURISH YOUR BODY AND BRAIN, AS WELL AS WAYS TO LESSEN THE STRESS IN YOUR LIFE. ALMOST EVERYONE RESPONDS TO TREATMENT. THE TEENS YOU JUST HEARD FROM HAVE SUCCEEDED IN FINDING HELP AND SO CAN YOU.
[HOST 1:] BUT AGAIN, WHEN DO YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD ASK FOR HELP? HERE ARE SOME OF THE THOUGHTS YOU MAY BE THINKING THAT WARN YOU THAT YOU NEED TO SEEK HELP:
[HOST 2:] -I HATE GETTING UP IN THE MORNING.
-I HAVE READ IT FOUR TIMES AND STILL DON’T GET IT.
-EVERYBODY HATES ME!
-NOTHING TASTES GOOD ANYMORE
[HOST 1:] -I JUST WANT TO SLEEP.
-MY WHOLE WORLD IS BLACK,
-NO ONE REALLY UNDERSTANDS.
-I WOULD BE BETTER OFF DEAD.
-I FEEL LIKE A BIG HAND IS PRESSING DOWN ON ME.
-WHY DOES EVERYONE PICK ON ME?
-I NEED SOMETHING TO HELP ME RELAX.
[HOST 2:] IF YOU ARE HAVING ANY OF THESE THOUGHTS FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME, YOU NEED TO SEEK HELP. HERE ARE SOME PLACES YOU CAN CALL TO ASK FOR ASSISTANCE:
[HOST 1:] CALL 1-800-273-TALK. YOU CAN TALK TO SOMEONE 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK; SOMEONE WHO WILL UNDERSTAND. THAT’S 1-800-273-8255.
[HOST 2:] TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MENTAL ILLLNESS CALL THE UTAH CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL AT 323-9900 LOCALLY OR TOLL FREE AT 877-230-6264. THEIR WEB SITE IS NAMIUT.ORG.
[HOST 1:] AND FOR MANY MORE RESOURCES VISIT KUED.ORG
[HOST 2:] REMEMBER, SUICIDE CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE. FORGET ALL THE STEREOTYPES. CADE BRIMHALL WAS A BRIGHT, OUTGOING YOUNG MAN WHO NEVER GAVE HIS PARENTS ANY INDICATION HE WAS STRUGGLING. THE FACT THAT CADE CHOSE TO END IS LIFE IS THE SIGN THAT HE WAS STRUGGLING AND HIDING THAT STRUGGLE FROM HIS FAMILY.
[CAMI BRIMHALL:] …take that initial step to tell someone, and although it’s going to be hard at first, like everything will fall into place after that. And the help you need will come into place and then recovery and then eventually like your life will be fine and it will be, if not better then it was before
[ANNOUNCER:] Voices of hope is made possible by Sound Partners for community health, a program of the Benton Foundation, with support provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, additional funding is provided by Norman and Barbra Tanner, the Ester Foundation in partnership with Countrywide Loans, the Robert D. Kent Jr. Charitable Trust Fund and the contributing members of KUED. Thank you.