Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Family Looking Up

Aug 28, 2018

This week’s show is all about saving lives!  Dr.  Greg Hudnall is with us and shared some incredible insights in how we, as parents, can help our kids, our kids friends, and community members to keep hope alive and prevent suicides.  Dr. Hudnall is a former high school principal, student service director and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. He has been involved with suicide prevention for the past twenty years and has personally been involved with over forty-five suicides as a first responder or consultant
is considered one of Utah’s leading experts in community and school-based suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.  


Listen in to hear the specific, and easy things you can do to begin making a difference today for those you love.  Also, you can hear our thoughts on traveling with kids, including a story of Beth’s daughter having her face caressed by many members of a tour group….every girls dream.  Aaaaaand...find out what Dr. Hudnalls 5 year old screamed for all to hear as he carried him out of church one day. This is a must listen!


Suicide is a heavy topic, one often avoided.  Unfortunately, the lack of knowing exactly how to prevent suicides led the Provo City Utah School District to average one to two suicides per year during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  Dr. Hudnall began his journey toward suicide prevention in that district as a principal. Provo was not unique in its high suicide rates.  Students across the nation were struggling with this devastating problem...many still are.


Through a collaboration effort with many different experts, Dr. Hudnall created the Hope4Utah Foundation and Hope Squads in over 300 schools in Utah and several states nationwide.  According to the Hope4Utah website, a Hope Squad is defined as “... the eyes and ears of your school. They are comprised of students who are trained to watch for at-risk students–provide friendship, identify warning signs, and seek help from adults. HOPE4UTAH works with school advisors to train students who have been identified by their classmates as trustworthy peers to serve as HOPE Squad members. Through evidence-based training modules, HOPE Squad members are empowered to seek help and save a life.”  The decrease in teen suicides across Utah has been dramatic since in implementation of Hope Squads.


Suicide prevention is a community issue.  No one person can solve the problem. Students, teachers, principals, and therapists all have a significant role to play.  They cannot be alone in this endeavor. Parents are an integral part of this equation. Dr. Hudnall recently released a book called “Hope Squad:  The Successful Suicide Prevention Program For Youth.” This book outlines what specific things parents, educators, and community members can do to immediately begin helping to prevent suicides.  Below are some of the topics (called LIFE SAVERS) we discussed in this episode that are found within the book.

  1. How to begin a conversation with someone about suicide.
    1. Talking about or making plans for suicide.
    2. Expressing hopelessness about the future.
    3. Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress.
  2. The warning signs of suicide:


    1. Showing worrisome behavioral clues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of warning signs above.
    1. People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
    2. Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
    3. If a person is determined to kill themself nothing is going to stop them.
    4. People who commit suicide are people  unwilling to get help.
  1. Common misconceptions about suicide:
  2. Protective factors and resiliency:

The following protective factors are personal characteristics that are critical to helping your child, and those characteristics that also help children build resiliency.

  1. Effective behavioral care.
    1. Family dinner
    2. Create opportunities to make and keep friends.
  2. Connectedness
  3. Self esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life.
  4. Cultural, religious or personal beliefs that discourage suicide.