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South Jordan Journal

Healthy South Jordan aims to make a difference for the community

Feb 23, 2022 06:49PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Jason Cloward volunteers in the Healthy South Jordan booth during the Light the Night event in December 2021 to help get the word out about the coalition. (Photo taken by Kim Alvarez)

By Rachel Aubrey| [email protected]

As we enter yet another year of uncertainty regarding the short-term and long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, community members can be sure of this: the community of South Jordan cares. A collection of community members and local business leaders established the Healthy South Jordan coalition and are committed again to improve mental and physical well-being after their efforts were held off due to Covid restrictions.

Although formed in 2019, the coalition had little opportunity to make an impact due to various health and safety guidelines. They have reached a point now where they are able to focus on their objectives once more: reduce depression and anxiety; prevent self-harm (suicide and substance misuse); help people overcome addiction; promote the safe, healthy and non-excessive use of electronic devices, programs and media; and decrease unhealthy weight through healthy lifestyle changes.

The coalition boasts representation from the city of South Jordan, the South Jordan Chamber of Commerce, the Jordan School District, the County Health Department, Daybreak community, Intermountain Community Health, University of Utah and members from the private sector as well, such as Mountain America Federal Credit Union.

“We have a strong group now,” said Janell Payne, Associate Director of Recreation for South Jordan City. “We are always looking for new committee members.”

Payne and all the coalition members are eager to get the word out that the group exists and that it is open to all members of the community who want to make a difference and who want to be involved.

“There are people in the community, including leaders in the community, that truly care about the residents [of all ages] of the city and about their health,” said co-chair Jason Cloward of the Salt Lake County Health Department. “People are trying to make a difference.”

The Healthy South Jordan mission statement was informed based on health-related information acquired by the Utah Department of Health. A survey was taken of the two main zip codes that encompass South Jordan City, including Daybreak, and the following were determined for adults:

  • Between 2018-2020, the number of adults that were told by a health professional that they had depression was 22.6% (The actual number of people that have had depression is likely higher because not everyone has access to healthcare and there is often a stigma around mental illness).
    20.4% of adults indicated between 2018-2020 that they had 7 or more days of poor mental health in the last month.
  • The estimated rate of suicide was 17.4 per 100,000 people, ranking in the top 10 leading causes of death, and the top 3 causes of premature death (as measured by its impact on life expectancy).
  • Drug/Opioid poisoning deaths also rank in the top 10 leading causes of death and also ranks in the top 3 causes of premature death.

These figures can seem discouraging. Healthy South Jordan has used the numbers to take a proactive approach towards extending help and recognition of those who help. One way to achieve these objectives is through the Healthy South Jordan Hero, an award given to an individual or group that is giving help and hope to others during this critical time. The coalition recently gave its first award to the Bingham High School Hope Squad in January at a Jordan School District Board meeting. Mayor Dawn Ramsey presented the award to the group.

“If more of everyone in society made a deliberate effort to do what these young people do, our world would be a different place, a better place,” Ramsey said.

The work being done by the Hope Squad and other teens in the community could not come at a more critical time. The data collected for youth in grades six, eight, 10 and 12 living within the South Jordan zip code, including Daybreak, estimated the following:

  • 65.2% had moderate depressive symptoms, with 12% who experienced severe depressive symptoms
  • 24% indicated they felt isolated from others in 2021
  • 18.7 % seriously considered attempting suicide (in the last 12 months), 14.7% made a suicide plan, and 8.4% actually attempted suicide
  • 35.1% reported unhealthy body weight in 2021
  • 6.6% vape, 5.2% use marijuana, 4.9% consumed alcohol in 2021
  • 80% reported spending 2 or more hours per school day playing video games, texting, or using social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube), not counting school work.

The coalition anticipates holding quarterly QPR training in connection with Intermountain Health Care that will be free to community members. QPR stands for question, persuade, refer and is focused on suicide prevention. Those actively looking for QPR training can visit

The Healthy South Jordan coalition are aware of some of the struggles within the community, and they are hoping others will become aware, too, and find meaningful ways to help. Open nominations for the Healthy Heroes award are ongoing. One award will be given each month to a group or individual who is making considerable efforts to encourage and reinforce the mission of the coalition.  Those who qualify for the award are those who are striving to help others with one or more of the following: addiction, hopelessness, poor mental health, unhealthy weight or lifestyle, or unhealthy habits using electronic devices and media.

“We want to make more people prone to step in and help others,” Cloward said.

For more information or to nominate a person or group of people for the Healthy South Jordan Hero award, visit the coalition Facebook page at