r By Arianne Brown
In November of this year, a father and son from Springville launched a clothing line aimed at changing the conversation about suicide. The shirts showcase a simple black and white color scheme and feature words like, “stigma,” “warrior,” “live,” “feeling,” “kind” and “family.” In place of the “i” in each of these words, however, is a semicolon representing what has now become a universal sign to pause in an effort to help reduce the incidents of suicide worldwide. On the back of the shirts is the number for the Suicide Hotline.
In recent years, suicide has risen to become one of the leading causes of death in kids, teens and adults. In fact, according to Utah.gov, in 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10 to 17 and ages 18 to 24. It also ranked as the second-leading cause for ages 25 to 44 and was the fourth-leading for ages 45-64.
But death by suicide doesn’t show the whole picture. According to the same statistics, more individuals are hospitalized or treated in an emergency room for suicide attempts than those who are fatally injured. The report also found that 33 percent of teens reported feeling sad or hopeless; 21 percent considered attempting suicide; 17 percent made a suicide plan; 9 percent attempted suicide one or more times; and 4 percent had suffered the after-effects of an attempt that needed to be treated medically.
Kaden and Jorge Garcia know these statistics all too well. Kaden, who is 17-years old now, experienced the loss of his childhood friend, Alex, when he was just 13. And then at the end of last year, when Kaden was a sophomore, Springville high school lost a female student right before graduation.
“The school’s resource officer made a huge impact on me and my classmates when she shared her experiences having to do with teens in our community,” Kaden said. “I remember feeling like something else needed to be done to change all this.”
It was around the same time, in 2017, when Jorge Garcia was experiencing some of his own thoughts of suicide as a result of suffering a heart attack a year earlier.
“In the winter of 2017, I was dealing with major depression, anxiety and a bout of medication-induced suicidal thoughts that lasted for about six weeks,” Jorge Garcia said. “Kaden who is the oldest and a natural empath like his mother felt the brunt of it.”
Coupled with these life-changing events, Kaden and Jorge Garcia knew that they needed to do something to help others who were suffering. Together, they decided to create the clothing line. that is titled, “Your Tribe Clothing,” (a name given by /Kaden’s mother and Jorge’s wife, Holly Garcia) to represent comradery and empathy among people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.
“We wanted to give kids the opportunity to wear a shirt with a word that would resonate with them — a word that they could identify with, perhaps a word of something that gives them strength or courage,” Kaden said. “We put together a list of positive and action words and we went to work on putting together the brand. Mom contributed the name, “Your Tribe Clothing,” and it just felt right.”
Since the brand has launched, many teens and adults have taken note, wearing the shirts proudly. One teen posted on the brand’s Instagram account writing, “One year ago today, I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital for suicidal thoughts and depression. I used to be ashamed of my mental challenges, but my road to recovery has taught me more than anything that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am grateful for all of the trials I have shaped me into the person I am today. … A year ago I couldn’t have imagined how much happiness life could bring.”
While many individuals have embraced the movement, so have student bodies from various schools in the area. Earlier this month, students and faculty at Springville high school ordered 100 items, and as a result, earned a free suicide prevention training from the QPR Institute in Spanish Fork whose mission is to educate on and prevent suicide. This is something Your Tribe Clothing is offering to all schools.
“We want to facilitate Suicide Awareness training into schools,” Kaden said.“Teachers, students and parents need to become more aware of the signs and need to talk openly about Suicide. Half of all the proceeds will go right back to bringing awareness into our community. We have to continue this movement, and our goal is that every teen should feel seen.”
To purchase Your Tribe Clothing Apparel, go to http://wasatchrun.zibbet.com/shop. To get updates, support and even to share your own story, find yourtribeclothing on Instagram (instagram.com/yourtribeclothing/).