New billboards aimed at tackling the suicide problem in Utah

Feb 6, 2018, 6:16 PM

UTAH COUNTY – You may have seen the electronic billboards along I-15 saying, “You Are Loved” and “You Are Beautiful.”  The signs’ creator says, yes, the message is aimed at you.  He’s trying to slow the number of suicides that could be linked to social media.

Along with the positive messages, the words “In Memory of Whitney” appear on the billboard.  The campaign’s creator, Collin Kartchner, says he was inspired to make the billboards after hearing of the death of the daughter of a family friend.  “She was spending all day scrolling through people’s photos and ‘lives of perfection’ and she started getting really depressed. It really affected her negatively.  It led to self-harming.  It led to depression,” he says.

Kartchner believes we’re living in a “Toxic Culture of Perfection” in which people are always judging themselves against the seemingly perfect lives of other people we see online.  He says photos of beautiful faces, fit bodies and lavish vacations have a ripple effect among viewers, even if the person posting them never intended to harm anyone.  “I don’t think anyone who is producing content on any of these social media feeds had any intention of saying, ‘I’m doing this to make people feel bad,’” he says.

He began asking for donations on his Instagram feed, and his request went viral.  “We raised $3,000 in nine minutes,” Kartchner says, which covered the cost of the billboards.  Eventually, he raised a lot more than that, so, he’s donating to groups like HOPE4UTAH, and their Hope Squads that teach children to spot potential signs of suicidal thoughts in other kids.

He hopes this message of love and support spreads outside of the state, and it seems like it will.  “The cool thing is that other states are joining in.  People in California, Arizona, and Texas are saying, ’We’re doing the same thing.’  We want to get these billboard messages up,” according to Kartchner.

Today’s Top Stories

Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: What we know that just ain’t so

Like Mark Twain famously said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
10 hours ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
1 day ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
1 day ago
Police in Roy are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afte...
Mark Jones

Vehicle collides with unoccupied building in Roy, no injuries

Roy Police are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afternoon. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.
1 day ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
1 day ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
New billboards aimed at tackling the suicide problem in Utah