Teens complete suicide prevention mural at local business
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IDAHO FALLS — If you’re driving north on Yellowstone Highway in Idaho Falls you may have seen the brightly colored wall on the side of a local car dealership.
That wall now stands as a symbol for the value of a life and suicide prevention awareness.
“Idaho is … actually higher than the national average for suicides,” Bonneville Youth Development Coalition Youth Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Brandenburg says.
Local youth have joined the Bonneville Youth Development Coalition in its efforts to spearhead the mural project on the side of the Finish Line Auto Sales building.
The coalition held a mural contest which ended in June. Two young art students took first and second place and had the chance to collaborate on designs for the mural.
The first place winner Addyson Carver, 13, who designed a brightly colored sunflower. The second-place winner Joslyn Rutz, 14, drew a semi-colon with the design of a dark skyline and bright colors emerging from it.
“The semi-colon actually helps to symbolize that it was where an author would have put a period, but instead they decided to continue their story. So, it’s a very common symbol for suicide prevention,” Brandenburg says.
Joslyn gained inspiration for the design because of a close friend who struggled with thoughts of suicide.
“I thought that I should incorporate some different colors,” Rutz says. “I actually have a friend who almost committed suicide and when she came out of her depression she said that she felt like she was out of the dark.”
For Addyson she says her sunflower stands as a message of hope.
“There are so many petals and a sunflower can mean so many things. You can probably find a message for it in whatever is going on in your life,” Addyson says.
Addyson says the sunflower can stand for something positive, or represent a deeper meaning, whatever the viewer interprets. The wall will also have the words ‘Tomorrow needs you,’ and the number for the suicide prevention hotline.
“I’m overwhelmed and so happy that I could work with so many people,” Addyson says. “I wouldn’t rather have my art be with anyone else than with the second-place winner. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope that it can save lives.”
Brandenburg appreciates all who’ve come together to make the project a reality.
“It really is a community effort. We’ve had many youths come to work on this mural, and it’s all worth it if it just helps one person to be reminded that they’re needed tomorrow and that every single person is important,” Brandenburg says.