Hi, I'm Tom, "The Heart Rock Guy!"
Help me prevent Utah student deaths by suicide by providing them with meaningful tools for suicide prevention: heart rocks.
Several years ago, I lived in Ocean Shores, Washington. I taught high school Spanish and collected naturally shaped heart rocks on the beach.
One particularly rainy winter, our small community was shaken by several deaths by suicide. I found a naturally shaped heart rock on the beach and decided to give it to one of my students. Then I thought, "I want to give all of my students a heart rock." I bought a little tile saw and began making my own heart rocks.
As soon as I had enough natural and homemade heart rocks, I brought them to school and let my students choose their favorites to be their personal reminders that they matter and are loved.
After school that day, 24 students returned to my classroom and said they had given away their heart rocks and asked for more. They began naming the people they wanted to give them to.
I realized in that moment that heart rocks are not only powerful personal reminders but also tools for compassion.
I began carving hundreds of heart rocks, and my students gave them away.
A few months later, my family was touched by suicide.
I moved home to Utah to support my little sister, and I brought my heart rocks with me. I determined I would do everything in my power to prevent suicides in Utah. I realize not all suicides are preventable, but I believe that giving people simple, frequent reminders that they matter and are loved can help.
And so it began.
Since losing a family member to suicide in 2019, I have made and distributed over 170,000 heart rocks.
I do school assemblies and community events teaching about using kindness as suicide prevention. I believe that kindness and meaningful human connection will naturally deepen friendships, strengthen family ties, and prevent deaths by suicide.
I have donated tens of thousands of heart rocks to schools, hospitals, recovery centers, nursing homes, counseling centers, and many non-profit organizations.
My mission is to fill Utah with heart rocks to remind people that they matter and are loved.
I am a certified suicide prevention speaker, stone carver, and kindness specialist.
I have volunteered hundreds of hours teaching workshops and doing assemblies about suicide prevention all over the country. I tell stories about experiences I have had giving away heart rocks to thousands of individuals.
I know that heart rocks help save lives. When used intentionally, they remind us that we matter and are loved. When given away with a message, they foster compassionate conversation.
How You Can Help:
Would you like to help me fill Utah with heart rocks?
Please consider making a donation and sharing this information.
All of the funding goes towards creating heart rocks and distributing them to local classrooms. For every $1 donated, I donate one heart rock to a local student. As of Oct 2023, I've distributed over 60,000 heart rocks in Utah schools.
Thomas Ballard is
"The Heart Rock Guy." He is a Utah-based stone carver, Nami-certified safe suicide speaker, and kindness specialist. His way of being kind: making and distributing lots and lots of heart rocks. He's done scores of community events, school assemblies, and firesides teaching about using kindness to save lives. He's a dynamic storyteller and loves sharing experiences he's had distributing over 170,000 heart rocks in an effort to save one life by preventing a death by suicide. He believes people can use heart rocks to strengthen family ties, deepen friendships, and save lives. He's hidden thousands of hearts in public places, mailed more than 20,000 hearts to individuals worldwide, and helped prevent dozens of potential deaths by suicide. Why? It's how he copes with the darkness and sorrow he experiences living with bipolar disorder. Thomas and his wife live in a small cottage in Mapleton, Utah. They thoroughly enjoy going on walks, traveling, and visiting their families (especially the ones that live in tourist destinations...).