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A Look into SafeUTNG

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 problems including:

  • Emotional crisis
  • Grief and loss
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Mental health issues
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide prevention

SafeUTNG is free and available for download from the Google Play Store and the App Store.

Utah mourns the death of Mayor Brent Taylor

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Utah lost one of our best today.  North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor was killed in service to the people of Afghanistan while stationed in Kabul as a member of the Utah National Guard. 

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes wrote, “Our hearts are heavy for Jennie, the kids and the extended Taylor family. Brent made us all feel like family and so many of us feel like we’ve lost a brother. He lived his life like he served his nation and community–with principle. His love for God, family and country made him a great patriot. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

To better understand who Brent was and what his sacrifice in Afghanistan meant, here are his thoughts posted on Facebook last Sunday.

Text:

Freedom: Millions Defy Taliban and Vote in Afghan Elections

“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” – Thucydides
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years. The strong turnout, despite the attacks and challenges, was a success for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan and for the cause of human freedom. I am proud of the brave Afghan and US soldiers I serve with. Many American, NATO allies, and Afghan troops have died to make moments like this possible; for example, my dear friend Lieutenant Kefayatullah who was killed fighting the Taliban the day before voting began. 🇦🇫️

As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. “United we stand, divided we fall.” God Bless America. 🇺🇲️👊🏻

 

 

 

Note: this post was written on Saturday, 11/3/18, but not published until 11/4/18 due to National Guard protocol which precludes the release of the names of those killed until 24 hours after notification of next of kin.  You can watch a live stream of Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s announcement here (KSL) and here (KUTV). 

Photos courtesy of Mayor Taylor’s Facebook page

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