243 We love you

Mr. Rogers

It takes one letter to say I and four letters to say love and three letters to say you. One hundred and forty-three. -Fred Rogers

Tom Junod recounts from an interview with Mr. Rogers: "Once upon a time, around thirty-one years ago, Mister Rogers stepped on a scale, and the scale told him that Mister Rogers weighs 143 pounds... And so, every day, Mister Rogers refuses to do anything that would make his weight change...and every morning, the scale tells him that he weighs 143 pounds. This has happened so many times that Mister Rogers has come to see that number as a gift, as a destiny fulfilled, because, as he says, "the number 143 means 'I love you.' It takes one letter to say 'I' and four letters to say 'love' and three letters to say 'you.' One hundred and forty-three. 'I love you.' Isn't that wonderful?"


At Roots Charter High School we want there to be no place in the school that a student can't see "We Love You" or 243. We believe as the students have this constant reminder they will be able to draw upon that reminder when they need it most.

As educators, we believe that our number one responsibility is to create a safe and loving environment for a student to grow and learn. Educators and school administrators often do great at creating a safe environment free of danger and hazards but creating a loving environment is harder. They often feel conflicted as they strive to create a "loving" environment, they have rules and boundaries and they sometimes feel disconnected because of those rules and boundaries. They aren't.

At Roots our staff literally gives thousands of high-fives a day. sometimes the high fives are harder than others. At Roots we believe we have to build and foster relationships and the best way to do that is to show the kids that 243.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a major preventable public health problem in Utah and the 8th leading cause of death (2010-2015 inclusive). Every suicide death causes a ripple effect of immeasurable pain to individuals, families, and communities throughout the state. From 2009 to 2015, Utah’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 19.9 per 100,000 persons. This is an average of 525 suicide deaths per year. Suicide was the second-leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10 to 39 years old in 2013 and the number one cause of death for youth ages 10-17. Many more people attempt suicide than die by suicide. The most recent data show that 6,039 Utahns were seen in emergency departments (2014) and 2,314 Utahns were hospitalized for self-inflicted injuries including suicide attempts (UDOH Indicator-based Information System for Public Health, 2014). One in fifteen Utah adults report having had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year (SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008-2009). According to the Student Health and Risk Prevention Survey, 14.4 % of youth grades 6-12 report seriously considering suicide, 6.7% of Utah youth grades 6-12 students attempted suicide one or more times and 13.9% of students report harming themselves without the intention of dying in the prior year. While suicide is a leading cause of death and many people report thoughts of suicide, the topic is still largely met with silence and shame. It is critical for all of us to challenge this silence using both research and personal stories of recovery. Everyone plays a role in suicide prevention and it is up to each one of us to help create communities in which people are able to feel safe and supported in disclosing suicide risk, including mental illness and substance use problems. We need to break down the barriers that keep people from accessing care and support for prevention, early intervention and crisis services. As you review this plan, we encourage you to identify how you can implement any of the strategies and help create suicide-safer communities.


Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States for young people between 10 and 19 years of age. Every year in this country, about 125,000 young people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained during suicide attempts. And every year, about 4,000 young people take their own lives (CDC, 2004). Additional young people are treated by family doctors—or not treated at all—for self-inflicted injuries. A still larger group of young people exhibit signs that they are at-risk for suicide. A national study (CDC, 2003a) revealed that in the 12 months preceding the research, almost 17 percent of high school students seriously considered suicide, 16.5 percent of high school students made a plan for attempting suicide, 8.5 percent of high school students attempted suicide one or more times Suicide among children under the age of 14 is rare. Suicide by children under the age of 9 is extremely rare (CDC, 2003b).

Many young people who attempt suicide are afflicted by depression or other mood disorders or substance abuse (which itself can be related to depression). Other emotional problems linked to suicide include conduct disorders (especially aggressive behavior), borderline personality disorder, and high levels of hopelessness (Berman, Jobes, and Silverman, 2006). Suicide among younger children is related to depression and other serious psychiatric problems as well as feelings of “expendability”— an exaggerated sense of guilt for family problems combined with low self-esteem (Pfiefer, 2000). It is important to remember that although most young people who commit suicide are affected by mental disorders, only a relatively small proportion of young people troubled by such problems try to take their own lives.



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