Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes visited Park City High School Monday morning to kick off an anti bullying initiative that is rolling out all over the country. Joining him were talented guests who brought their own message of selflove and kindness. KPCW was there and has a sample of the AG’s morning message to the Park City High School student body and faculty.
AG Sean Reyes says the Utah Governor’s Office created the Instead initiative to combat the devastating incidents of teen suicide in Utah where it is the most common cause of death for ages 10-17. Reyes told students about his background growing up in inner city Los Angeles and how his friend, rapper Kanye West inspires him to create poetry of his own. Park City students were treated to an out of the ordinary presentation by the Utah Attorney General.
“I am the Attorney General now, so it goes a little something like this…”
Additionally, his office is taking the “Instead” program to school districts statewide, by holding assemblies, pushing out the Safe Ut App and engaging communities. He says it’s important to find what you love.
“For me it’s Rap. For you it might be art, it might be drama. It might be gaming. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s the passion and the love you have to do it. You’ll be successful and you’ll be able to lift yourself and lift others around you. And that’s what Instead is all about. It’s finding that thing that you are passionate about. Don’t let other people judge you. Don’t let those haters take you down.”
People who are bullied can feel lonely, isolated and deeply depressed. Reyes wants students to use the Safe Ut App which he says provides support 24-hours a day.
“Number one cause of death, death by suicide in Utah in Utah is death by suicide, more than the next three causes of death combined. And for 16 years, it just increased until we created the Safe Ut App and because of you, because you care about your loved ones, your siblings, your friends, we’ve had tens of thousands of interactions. And hundreds, if not thousands of lives have been saved because of you.”
Reyes says the health care industry, government, insurance and business must look outside the traditional ways of treating depression and drug addiction. He says treatment program costs are astronomical and most people can’t afford the $100,000 charges to access them. When people are suffering emotionally, he wants to eliminate the stigma saying it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone struggles.
“Not just someone who can give you some superficial answers. Someone who cares. Someone who can give you some help because we all need help. It doesn’t matter if you’re popular. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich. It doesn’t matter your religion, your orientation, your country of origin. We all need help sometime. Too many of us suffering, alone, feeling like no one cares. That’s what we need to talk about today and that’s why I am so excited.”
The assembly featured the prominent motivational speaker Nick Vujicic who was born without limbs and travels the world presenting to government officials, dignitaries and children about overcoming bullying. KPCW will have more on his presentation in a subsequent report.