Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall is a former high school principal, student service director and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. Greg has been involved with suicide prevention in Utah for the past twenty years and personally involved with over twenty-five suicides as a first responder or consultant. In 2004, he was invited to testify before the United States Surgeon General on suicide in Utah. He has trained over 20,000 people in Utah, including educators, mental health workers, judges, church leaders and law enforcement officers. In 2014 he was invited by the White House to present in Washington D.C.
It was 1:30a.m. in the morning of the New Year, when the phone rang with Sergeant Duvall from the Provo Police Department on the line. He asked if I could come to the park next to my high school and help identify the body of a boy who had completed suicide.
How We Started
To this day I remember the color of the sweats, the jacket and even the hat I wore. When I drove up to the park I saw the bright police lights and the yellow security tape keeping everyone out. Sergeant Duvall met me and asked if I was going to be okay. I told him I thought I would be fine.
We walked through the lightly powdered snow that had just dropped within the past few hours. It was cold and you could see your breath. When we arrived to the spot next to a tree, I saw the young man no older than fourteen years old dressed in shorts, no shirt and sandals.
I could not tell who he was until I leaned down and moved his body so I could look at his face. It was one of the saddest moments in my life.
I walked back to the car, leaned against the bumper, wept, and threw up. I remember thinking why would such a young person want to die? I also made a promise, then and there, that I would do all I could the rest of my days to prevent another child from taking their life.
For the past fifteen years, I have spoken to over 15,000 people, young and old about suicide prevention. I have worked with some of the finest educators in developing prevention programs throughout the state of Utah. While we know we have saved some lives, it is never enough to say we have done all that we can. This manual is the result of many individuals contributing their expertise. May we all strive to save one more life.
Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall