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Davis Journal

Promise2Live campaign’s mission is to ‘Stop the stigma, Start conversations and Save lives’

Aug 24, 2023 08:39AM ● By Becky Ginos

DAVIS COUNTY—Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day and one woman has made it her mission to “Stop the stigma, Start conversations and Save lives.” Brandy Vega started the Promise2Live campaign to prevent one more person from dying by suicide.

“I was a single mom and had a video production company in Salt Lake,” said Vega. “I had three kids and I was doing my thing when my 12-year-old child attempted suicide. I had no idea. I knew the signs but I didn’t see them. I almost lost my child. It was devastating.”

Vega said they didn’t want to talk about it because of the stigma. “My child didn’t want to do medication and promised not to do it again. So I said, ‘OK’ and two years later the police woke me up in the middle of the night. If it hadn’t been for a brave friend who called them, I would have lost my child.”

They went to Primary Children’s Hospital, she said. “They said 10 kids had attempted suicide so they didn’t have a bed. In a two day period 20 kids had tried to end their lives.”

For several days Vega said they didn’t know if her child would live. “For seven years I had volunteered at Primary’s in spiritual care so that no one dies alone. When you’re a parent of a kid there it’s different.”

Vega said she felt so alone. “I didn’t have any resources. I wondered about insurance. I didn’t know what to do. I decided to post a video on my personal Facebook page. It was the most vulnerable video I’d ever done. I just said ‘If anyone has been through this I need help – please help.’ I had 12,000 views right away and then it went viral. I received hundreds of messages and stories. It blew me away.”

Outside of the hospital Vega said she was sitting and praying. “I was just praying ‘save my kid. I’ll do anything.’ I got this impression that said ‘I’ve given you a second chance there’s not going to be a third so what are you going to do?’”

Shortly after that, her child woke up, said Vega. “I asked if they were sorry that they had woken up and not died. ‘Mom, I didn't really want to die, it was just too late to stop.’”

Most kids don’t want to die, Vega said. “They just want to end the pain.”

Vega said she was asked by a news station if she would share her story. “I said no. But they said ‘hey this is a huge problem and no one is willing to talk about it.’ I reluctantly did it and said ‘watch your kids to see if they’re thinking about suicide. Ask an honest question and you’ll get an honest answer.’ I got messages saying ‘you saved my daughter. She was attempting suicide,’ and ‘my son confessed he was planning on ending his life.’”

Vega decided she needed to do something more and founded Promise2Live. They held a three-hour event to come together for mental health and suicide and reached 160,000 people. “We thought we should take the message to them (kids) on the devices and platforms they use. We started streaming on YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.” The next Promise2Live event will be online at Sept. 10 from 6-9 p.m.

Whether it’s personally or if it’s someone else who is struggling and finds themselves in a dark place, ask them to promise to reach out to someone, go to a trusted resource such as a family member or call 988, said Vega.

Part of the campaign invites people to go to and make a 40 second promise. “Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide,” Vega said. “Studies show that when people make a promise the odds that they’ll keep it go up by 60%. It only takes 40 seconds or less to make a promise and share that promise to start the conversation, stop stigma and save lives.”

Everybody knows the warning signs but people are complex, she said. “Ask the people you love point blank ‘Hey are you feeling suicidal and you want to end your life?’ People think that will give them the idea if you ask but that’s not true. Either they are or they aren’t.”

Vega said she knew the signs but that didn’t help. “There are great resources. Most people don’t know they exist. I didn’t know until my child’s second attempt to end their life.”

Start speaking openly, she said. “It takes strength to ask for help. It’s very courageous. It’s not a weakness. When it happened to my child I felt like a failure but that was not true. Many people are going through it.”

Vega is on a mission. “I’m a lucky mom who got a second chance,” she said. “I want to pay it forward to all of the people who didn’t get a second chance.”