SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, state Sen. Daniel Thatcher and representatives from the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, Utah Office of Education and the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission unveiled the SafeUT Crisis and Safety Tipline for Utah students Wednesday.
The SafeUT Mobile App (Android version) provides students confidential and anonymous two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors or school staff via one-touch options to “Call Crisisline,” “Chat Crisisline” or “Submit a Tip.” Students using the mobile app will connect directly to a UNI crisis counselor at the UNI CrisisLine. For those who do not have access to a smart phone, the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, is also supported by UNI.
Statistics devastatingly show that suicide is the number one cause of death of Utah children ages 10–17. In addition, our schools and communities are facing crisis-level safety concerns. Because of such alarming realities statewide, our office has worked closely and in a very bipartisan manner with legislators, agencies, parents and advocates to find the right solution.
Today, we unveil the SafeUT Mobile App for 24/7 crisis intervention and emotional support to any student facing mental health crisis or safety threats. We are both excited about and hopeful that such a resource will provide a lifeline to students who feel they have nowhere else to turn and that life is not worth living anymore.
After studying the issue, the Utah attorney general’s office and Thatcher proposed legislation in 2014 to form a commission to explore solutions. The legislation passed and the commission was led to the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, already renowned for their excellence in crisis call support.
In 2015, the School Safety and Crisis Line legislation (SB 175), sponsored by Thatcher and Rep. Steve Eliason, passed the Utah State Legislature designating UNI as the crisis provider and an active commission, chaired out of the attorney general’s office, for implementation. Thatcher chose to sponsor the legislation after recognizing the statewide epidemic that had personally impacted him numerous times throughout his life.
I was 11 years old the first time I lost a classmate to suicide, and at the age of 16, I lost one of my closest friends. Every Utahn has felt the impact of suicide. It is the single deadliest crisis facing our youth. This commission and the work we have done is the only answer big enough to help solve this problem.
This is the hope our kids have been waiting for and I am deeply grateful to be part of such a comprehensive and collaborative effort which has created the SafeUT Mobile App where an anonymous chat, text or call could save your life or the life of someone you love.
Students can download the SafeUT Mobile App at any time — and will receive training on how to use SafeUT Services by their school administrators. The first round of Utah school administrators were trained over the past week on school implementation.
All Utah schools will have the opportunity to participate over the next year, but it is not mandatory. As schools enroll in the program, an online tool will be shared to allow students to report a crisis or crime through their school’s website as well.
Comprehensive School Counseling Program specialist for the Utah Office of Education Lillian Tsosie-Jensen said:
School climate is the heart and soul of a school. There has never been more support for school climate improvement efforts in Utah. SafeUT provides appropriate assistance to students and offers an infrastructure of student support around crisis prevention and safety in schools. On behalf of the state superintendent of public schools, USOE is pleased to be a part of this collaborative partnership.
How to submit a tip
Students experiencing crisis, bullying, threats or who are aware of a threat, can communicate with SafeUT in the following ways:
- SafeUT Mobile App (call and chat functions)
- Call Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (routed to a UNI crisis counselor at the UNI CrisisLine)
- Report via website, which will be available via individual school websites as schools bring this function on board
Key features of SafeUT
- Anonymous, confidential and password protected
- Real-time, two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors available 24/7
- Tips can be submitted with picture and/or video
- Mobile App works with Apple & Android devices
- Multiple languages available