On the heels of the deadly attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Utah itself experienced a string of high school threats of violence that resulted in the investigations at four different schools: Box Elder Middle School, Eastmont Middle School, Wasatch High School, and Springville High School. To help raise awareness of a tool that can help, KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio yesterday invited schools across the state to participate in a effort called Stand Up for a SafeUT. The day was dedicated to highlighting the SafeUT App, how it can help with crisis interventions, and how it has helped thousands of students already.
The SafeUT App is a statewide service that provides real-time interactions straight from your smartphone. Licensed clinicians, from the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Utah Health, are available 24/7 to respond to all incoming chats, texts, and calls. They provide supportive and crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services. Additionally, students can submit confidential tips to school administrators on bullying, threats, or violence.
The SafeUT App was created out of an effort to stem the rising tide of teen suicide in the state. In 2014, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and State Senator Daniel Thatcher proposed legislation to form a commission to explore solutions. AG Reyes, Sen. Thatcher and representatives from the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI), Utah Office of Education, and the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission unveiled the SafeUT Crisis & Safety Tipline for Utah students in 2016.
Since its release, the SafeUT App has been downloaded over 33,000 times and clinicians have had conversations with over 19,000 students. The conversations range from bullying and depression, to suicide, cutting, and drugs. Currently, over 1900 tips or chats are sent in on average monthly, an increase from a monthly average of 160 two years ago. In addition, a whopping 86 planned school attacks have been stopped since 2016.
Due to the spotlight from KSL, the SafeUT App has been downloaded over 5,000 times since coverage began on Wednesday. This is a monumental step towards protecting the children of Utah, keeping them safe, and alive.
Download the SafeUT app through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
You can learn about the SafeUT app here: https://healthcare.utah.edu/uni/clinical-services/safe-ut/.
For SafeUT statistics, go here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/SafeUT-Infographic.pdfSafeUT Infographic.
For more information about suicide and its impact on young children and teens in Utah, the Utah Health Department has an entire section dedicated to information surrounding youth suicide. You can find that here: http://health.utah.gov/vipp/teens/youth-suicide/ and statistical information here: http://health.utah.gov/vipp/data/suicide.html.