December 16, 2019
Since 2015, the SafeUT app has provided professional mental health support for youth in crisis. Lives have been saved amid tens of thousands of chats and tips generated on the app. Now, there is a similar resource for members of Utah’s Army and Air National Guard: SafeUTNG.
SafeUTNG is a new suicide prevention, crisis text and tipline, available to Utah military service members and their families. Like the SafeUT app, SafeUTNG provides a safe, confidential platform to communicate with a crisis counselor 24/7.
In 2018, 541 service members died by suicide. According to a report by the Department of Defense in September 2019, the suicide rate in the National Guard was significantly higher than the active duty and Reserve’s. The most recent figure is 30.6 deaths per 100,000 service members. Additionally, the majority of service members who die by suicide were not diagnosed with mental illness. SafeUTNG hopes this new, multi-faceted platform will make a difference and save lives, similarly to the success of the SafeUT app.
The SafeUTNG app is an extension of SafeUT, which provides
real-time crisis intervention to Utah’s students, parents, and educators, and
works similarly. Crisis help is available through texting and calling.
Additionally, the app allows service members to submit tips anonymously. The
app is managed by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) in
partnership with the Utah National Guard.
“Speaking up when in crisis, whether it’s in
person or over the phone, can be uncomfortable for many,” said Robert Spencer,
Suicide Prevention Program Manager of the Utah Army National Guard in a release
regarding the SafeUTNG app. “Communicating via apps or text has been the
main way in which Soldiers and Airmen prefer to correspond.”
The app emphasizes that it should not be used in an
emergency. Instead, users are encouraged to dial 911.
CrisisLine Counselors can assist with a wide variety of
- Emotional crisis
- Grief and loss
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Mental health issues
- Suicide prevention
SafeUTNG is free and available for download from the Google
Play Store and the App Store.