Local woman empowering youth and preventing suicide through Live Hannah’s Hope

This month we are featuring Laura Warbuton who is empowering youth and preventing suicide

On Thanksgiving Day, a ladybug appeared on Laura Warburton’s kitchen window, giving her hope that her daughter Hannah, who passed away in 2014, is still with her.

“Hannah has somehow been allowed to send ladybugs and dragonflies at the most incredible times in the most obvious ways,” said Laura. “I was missing Hannah that day more than normal and I was like ‘sweetie, how are you?’ I turned around and in the dead of winter in Ogden Valley there is a ladybug on the outside of the window. My husband called Hannah his little ladybug.”

In 2013, Hannah experienced a traumatic brain injury which eventually manifested as mental illness. She hid her pain from her friends. Her family provided all the medical resources available to them, but it wasn’t enough. Hannah died of suicide on June 19, 2014 at 16 years of age.

Following her tragic death, Laura created Live Hannah’s Hope – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth to live the life Hannah so desperately wanted but couldn’t because she couldn’t figure out how to stop the pain. She hid instead of reaching out to her friends for help. She was embarrassed and ashamed.

Suicide is an epidemic. The state’s suicide rate among young adults ages 10 to 17 had more than doubled from 2011 to 2015. According to livehannahshope.org, suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10-24 years of age and the average number of suicides in Utah each year is 577.  Laura is hoping that Live Hannah’s Hope will empower youth and reduce suicide through research, education, awareness and advocacy.

“I couldn’t do any of this without the people around me – without the prayers, without everything,” she said. “When we first started the organization it was kind of chaotic and I wasn’t sure what to focus on.  I think in 2018 I’ve really honed it down to what needs to be happening with Live Hannah’s Hope – it’s all about resilience.”

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Laura, who is a resilience coach, hopes to empower youth and reduce suicide in 2018 with the following programs:

  • Free QPR training, which is an evidence-based resource for businesses and private groups to learn more about suicide and how to prevent it.
  • Free resilience training for youth and adults, using a process called The Work. It’s a simple sheet where individuals learn to question their painful thoughts and turn them around.
  • When someone takes his or her life, loved ones are left behind to keep living after the loss. Suicide can touch anyone at any time. It knows no socio-economic, age, race or gender boundaries. The Weber Suicide Survivor Support Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind.  A survivor is anybody who has lost someone to suicide – a child, a parent, a friend, a neighbor, etc.

Laura will also be remembering her daughter and celebrating resilience through the Hannah Warburton Resilience Award –  an award to acknowledge those who may not graduate at the top of their class but who overcome tremendous hurdles to graduate. Ten Utah seniors will be awarded $250 cash at the end of each school year. In the process of applying for this award, students will share their story. Their stories will go on to help kids of all ages overcome struggles in their own lives.

“God is good. I realized when Hannah first passed away how many kids don’t believe in God because they feel so alone and so I hesitate to say God loves you because they don’t feel love,” Laura said. “But he does, he loves everybody.”

To learn more about Laura’s efforts, visit livehannahshope.org.


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