Media Contacts

Leann Bentley

Communications Specialist, Huntsman Mental Health Institute
Email: leann.bentley@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-587-7237

Sep 27, 2021 10:00 AM

SafeUT Annual Report shows an increase in chats related to suicidal ideation and serious mental health concerns during pandemic

Today, the SafeUT Commission published its 2020-21 Annual Report. The comprehensive report outlines key statistics about the statewide SafeUT app related to utilization, chats and life-saving interventions, school threats, and the impact of COVID-19 on SafeUT use.

“2020 was a challenge for everyone. The data shows that SafeUT played a heroic role connecting people with the care they needed, right when they needed it most,” said Ric Cantrell, Chair of the SafeUT Commission. “The intensity and duration of conversations on the app grew significantly during the Pandemic, as an increasing number struggled with suicidal thoughts and other mental health impacts. The SafeUT team stepped up to the challenge, provided professional solutions, and saved more lives than ever before."

Chats on the app increased for student users, with 30,311 chats this year alone. Overall, 30,527 chats were conducted across all three apps (SafeUT, SafeUTNG, SafeUT Frontline). SafeUT mental health counselors with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) crisis call center respond to all incoming chats and calls, providing supportive or crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services. If SafeUT users are actively attempting suicide or have plans to harm themselves, SafeUT works in coordination with first responders to initiate an active rescue. Between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, SafeUT conducted 298 life-saving interventions.  

 “One of the interesting things we learned this year is that utilization of the app was higher with persons living in areas with higher poverty rates,” said Rachel Lucynski, Business Operations Manager, Community Crisis Intervention and Support Services, Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “The data suggests that the mental health impact of COVID-19 has been greater for SafeUT users who also have difficult economic stressors and very little access to any other mental health support. This helps us better understand the complex issues that our users may be facing, and we can create better ways to offer support through the program and our partners.”

Other key stats from the 2020-21 Annual Report:

App Utilization:

- 850,790 students have access to the SafeUT app across Utah

- 104 unique users per school term download the app (fall, winter, spring)

K-12 Tips and Threats: Users and concerned parents and guardians, friends, or educators can submit confidential tips and tips about school threats that are triaged by crisis counselors on concerns such as bullying, threats, or violence.

- 6,274 total tips received (1,337 suicide tips, 562 bullying tips, 497 depression tips)

- 256 threat tips (51 for fights, 47 for violence, 34 for assault, 33 for guns)

SafeUT is much more than a smartphone app; it is a free mental health system that provides real-time crisis intervention and professional help to Utah’s students, parents and guardians, and educators. Over the past year and a half, SafeUT has expanded to include SafeUTNG, an app and services specifically for National Guard members, along with SafeUT Frontline, for Utah law enforcement, firefighters/EMS, and health care providers.

SafeUT allows people facing any type of crisis to chat confidentially with a counselor, call a certified crisis worker directly, or submit confidential tips to crisis counselors. The app is staffed by master’s level trained crisis counselors at HMHI and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

SafeUT has been recognized nationwide for its effectiveness in saving lives and de-escalating school incidents. The 2020-21 SafeUT Annual Report is available for download. You can also learn more about SafeUT at SafeUT.org

SafeUT partners include HMHI and University of Utah Health, Office of the Utah Attorney General, Utah State Office of Education, Utah State Legislature, Utah System of Technical Colleges, Utah Department of Human Services, and Utah System of Higher Education.

mental health