Suicides in Utah have been on the rise in recent years, especially when it comes to Utah’s teens. According to CDC, suicide is the leading cause of death in teens aged 11-17. Utah has seen a spike that is unrivaled nationwide in the last couple years as suicide rates are up a reported 141 percent.
While there is no one clear cause as to why teen suicide is on the rise, LGBTQ+ teens have found acceptance especially hard to come by, as the Mormon religion has very clear teachings about homosexuality. Recently a computer software company took it upon themselves to try to help LGBTQ individuals feel more accepted in their own community.
DOMO has placed six billboards along Interstate-15 to read, “DOMO ❤ LGBTQ+ (and everyone else too.)” The campaign comes after DOMO founder and CEO Josh James viewed the documentary “Believer”. The film explores the LDS Church’s treatment of its LGBTQ+ members and attributes the lack of acceptance that LGBTQ+ teens feel in their community to the rise in teen suicides. After viewing this film James said in a blog post that he, “feels a sense of urgency and an obligation to help.”
His idea? To use DOMO’s billboards to help spread the idea of inclusion in Utah. “The more we talk about inclusion, the more equipped we will all be in communicating first and foremost that we love and care for each other as we all go through this struggle and experience that we call life,” James said in his blog post.
DOMO and his message to Utah, and the world at large, is that DOMO accepts and loves them. According to James, DOMO loves and accepts everyone regardless of race gender, sexuality or any other factors.
James states that this billboard is not to endorse one group over another, but rather to help use their position to make sure everyone feels that they belong and are loved, a message that evidently needs help getting spread as Utah’s teen suicide rates continue to be among the highest in the nation. While this campaign may be a risky maneuver, especially in Utah County, it is one that he hopes will help teens who feel isolated because of their sexuality feel a little bit more loved.