Teenagers are constantly downloading new apps and connecting on the latest social media platforms. For this reason, educators are adapting their way of reaching students with technology. Now, in the palm of their hands, students will have a tool that allows them to report safety concerns with the click of a button.
In Sept. 2016, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Utah State Senator 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 & Safety Tipline for Utah students.
“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,” Attorney General Sean Reyes reported in a statement. “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.”
The SafeUT app answers crisis calls, texts and chats about suicide, self-harm, drug and alcohol problems, mental health and abuse. The app connects students to 24-hour licensed crisis counselors from the University of Utah, giving them instant help if needed. It can be used by students as an anonymous way to provide tips about those who may be close to causing harm to themselves or others.
Downloading and using the SafeUT mobile app is simple. After installation, students create a four-digit passcode, which they must enter each time they use the app. Once they have opened the app, students can seek help by speaking with a counselor or by submitting a tip. The app creates a safe, confidential space for teenagers to connect with help.
The SafeUT app has just recently been introduced in Cache Valley. Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, and Skyview High Schools are among the first to start utilizing it. Assemblies were held in each high school to provide students with proper training. Administrators consider it a tool that can save lives.
Jenny Speth, a counselor at Mountain Crest High School, helped implement SafeUT at her school. She and her fellow counselors received training from the State Office of Education at a counseling conference which focused on how the app works and how it can be used as a resource for students. The app was then introduced to Mountain Crest students on Jan. 9th.
“I think students are comfortable using technology, so this app provides the means for them to report information in a way that they are comfortable,” Speth said. “Using this app is our way of trying to stay in contact with students and find ways to help them.”
The app is free and is available in multiple languages. For those students who do not have access to a smartphone, a lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) was created to make sure that every student throughout Utah has access to helpful resources.
Cache County School District is dedicated to protecting all of its students. Parents, teachers, counselors, and students can feel safer knowing that this app allows students to connect with the assistance they need. Working together, we can help create a place where everyone feels safe.
According to the University of Utah Healthcare website, these are some of the key features and services of SafeUT:
Key Features of SafeUT
The SafeUT program and app help youth stay healthy and safe in schools by providing high-quality, confidential counseling services. The app’s key features include:
- Anonymous, confidential, and password protected services
- 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
SafeUT’s Crisis Services
Safe UT answers crisis calls, texts, and chats – about yourself or someone else – 24/7. These services are anonymous and confidential. Our counseling topics include:
- Emotional crisis
- Grief and loss
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Mental health
- Impact of domestic violence