All three Summit County School Districts now participating
Summit County, Utah (September 26, 2017) — Beginning today, parents, students and all residents in North and South Summit school districts will have a new resource for addressing mental health concerns and suicide prevention. All three school districts —Park City previously registered in the program— are now using Safe UT, a mobile app designed by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) as a tool in preventing suicide within Utah communities.
“Every time I speak with the young people in our community, I hear the need for a confidential resource where they can find help for themselves or a friend in crisis,” Communities That Care Coordinator, Mary Christa Smith said. “Most of the youth I have spoken with are hesitant to go straight to an adult and want to know their tips will be kept confidential and anonymous. The youth also speak to the need to be able to easily find resources that are credible. I am incredibly grateful to have this resource available to our three school districts.”
Safe UT provides instant, anonymous contact to a trained mental health professional at UNI for people in crisis. The Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance believes this tool will help Summit County reach its goals of reducing suicide as outlined in the Alliance’s Strategic Plan. According to the University of Utah, Safe UT has been attributed to the 20 percent decrease in youth suicides since 2015.
In addition, if a student hears or notices something concerning about their fellow students (bullying, possible suicidal behavior, anger issues, cyberbullying, eating disorders, planned school attacks, substance abuse, etc.) the app allows them to report an anonymous tip to the school’s administration. Based on the information received and the individual district’s policies, a staff member will follow up with the students.
“Student safety and well-being are some of our highest priorities as educators,” South Summit Superintendent, Shad Sorenson said. “Effective learning cannot occur if a student is feeling threatened, bullied or emotionally unable to focus because of their mental wellness. Providing the SafeUT app to our students is exciting. The tool will save lives and provide our staff with information to be more responsive and helpful for our students.”
Both North and South Summit school districts recognize the significance of being registered with the Safe UT app and the resources it provides to their students.
“Other districts have been using this app for the past year and have seen some good results.” North Summit Superintendent, Jerre Holmes said. “We appreciate the opportunity for our students and parents to have the same access. If it will help one kid, it will have been worthwhile for all of us.”
Safe UT can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices at the following links:
Comprised of the Summit County Health Department, the Summit County Council, the Park City Council, Park City, South Summit and North Summit school districts, the Park City Community Foundation, CONNECT Summit County, the Interfaith Council, Valley Behavioral Health, Intermountain Health Care, University Neuropsychiatric Institute, and other critical community partners, the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance was formed to improve mental health and substance abuse services and education in Summit County, Utah.