Salt Lake City, Utah, June 9, 2024

Continuing our mental health series curated by Promise2Live, in partnership with Silicon Slopes, and with emphasis on June as Men's Mental Health Month, in the article below Joe Tuia'ana presents the i love you, bro PROJECT, a suicide prevention program for men.

See Brandy Vega's inaugural article of the seriesthe profile story about Promise2Live.

The second article in this series—an introduction to Tom Telford's BrainStoke podcastcan be found here

The third article in the series was written by Richard Godfrey, Co-founder and CEO of Avec Me, and discusses fitting prosthetic limbs for elephants that have been injured by landmines in Cambodia. It can be found here.

The fourth article in the series is on how to help those who are struggling, authored by Cameron McBride, CEO of Blomquist Hale Solutions, a Salt Lake City-based company specializing in mental health solutions. Click here to read it.

The fifth article in the series featured Carrie Hill, a board member of Promise2Live and public relations professional; it discusses how she navigated unaddressed mental health issues within her own family.

Joe Tuia'ana will participate in a Silicon Slopes/Promise2Live Mental Health Town Hall on Thursday, June 13 at Silicon Slopes HQ in Lehi, with a focus on men, reflecting the status of June as Men's Mental Health Month. 

Other panelists of the June 13th panel include:

  • Dr. Dave Morgan, Licensed Psychologist and Director of Mental Health Awareness for Silicon Slopes
  • Brandy Vega, Founder of Promise2Live
  • Carrie Hill, a board member of Promise2Live and public relations professional and founder of CHILL consulting agency
  • Curtis Morley, Author and CEO of Counterfeit Emotions, and
  • Brandon Sunday, Owner at Pando Development

Silicon Slopes & Promise2Live Mental Health Town Hall takes place on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at Noon at Silicon Slopes HQ in Lehi, 2600 Executive Parkway, Suite 140, Lehi UT 84043.

The panel features individuals with lived experience, family members, and advocates sharing inspiring stories of hope and perseverance, providing attendees with insights into resilience and recovery journeys.

For more information about the June 13th Town Hall or to register, click here.

One afternoon in January 2022 on the way to basketball practice with my daughters, we came across a man on a freeway overpass who was experiencing a suicide crisis. As I frantically thought about what I could do to help the man, I said a quick prayer: “Please, PLEASE let this man know he’s loved.”

I had the feeling to open my arms to the man, as if to give him a hug, and I began to slowly walk towards him. Through tears, the only words I could offer the man were: “I love you, bro.”

I loved the man off the ledge and we sat and held each other, crying, all while repeated the words: “I love you, bro."

That moment turned into a movement that I call the "i love you, bro PROJECT."

I grew close with the man. We're now "brothers."

As we grew closer, I came to find out what his new little brother was missing in his life:

  1. Connection - He didn't have a trusted loved one to turn to that wouldn't judge him
  2. Knowledge - He didn't have any knowledge to help himself handle some of the feelings he was experiencing
  3. Resources - He didn't have access to a therapist or counselor who knew him

I went home and Googled "Men's Mental Health, Men's Suicide Prevention, Help for Men," and the only thing that came up were generalized resources and nothing specific for men.

On the same Google search, I learned that 80% of ALL suicides are Men.

The suicide prevention experience with my new brother, and the new knowledge of how terribly underrepresented men are in the Mental Health arena, moved me to create a nonprofit organization that is specifically focused on men's mental health and suicide prevention.

 Joe Tuia'ana, Founder of i love you, bro PROJECT

Also, equally as important, it focuses on ongoing personal development for men through:

  1. Weekly Men's Support Groups in Provo and West Jordan to facilitate connection for Men through mutual struggle and hardship
  2. Bi-weekly Workshops for Men to empower Men with knowledge to help themselves and others
  3. Professional, solution-based therapy for Men to help understand their emotional obstacles and roadblocks

All of these resources are available to men at no cost. The program is supported by several partners, including Huntsman Mental Health Institute, 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Live On, Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, and Intermountain Health.

Clint Betts, CEO of Silicon Slopes called "i love you, bro," “A moment turned into a movement” 

I encourage you, if someone crosses your mind, reach out to them. Put something on your calendar with that person: a lunch, a walk, dinner, or a phone call. Be persistent about it. Remember, there is no such thing as coincidences!

If you see or hear about someone going through a divorce, grieving a loved one, lost a job, or any other life-changing experience, connect with them. They are struggling and need help.

Remind them that you are there for them, no matter what. Don't forget to tell them: "i love you, bro."

For more information on the "i love you, bro, PROJECT" click here.

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