If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help can be found by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or the SafeUT Crisis Chat at 833-372-3388.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The SafeUT app reached a milestone in the last year, reaching over 1 million messages exchanged between mental health counselors and the students, parents/guardians, educators, frontline workers, National Guard members, and families they are there to help.

The SafeUT app was launched in 2016 as a way to combat Utah’s “unacceptably high youth suicide rate.” According to the CDC, suicide is Utah’s ninth leading cause of death. SafeUT says it is the leading cause of death for Utahns aged 10-24.

In a report released for the last fiscal year, running from the start of July 2021 to the end of June 2022, SafeUT said just under 900,000 Utah students have access to the SafeUT app, leading to an increase in life-saving interventions.

SafeUT’s mental health counselors with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) respond to all incoming chats and calls, 24/7. Once a chat has started, the counselors provide support and crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services. If a user is actively attempting suicide or has plans to harm themselves, the counselors coordinate with first responders for an active rescue.

In the 2021 fiscal year, SafeUT said it performed 298 life-saving interventions. That number increased in the latest year by 17% to 349 life-saving interventions.

“SafeUT is far more than an app – it’s a system of care, and it represents the combined vision of the legislature, Utah Attorney General, citizens, parents, and mental health professionals statewide,” said Ric Contrell, chair of the SafeUT commission. “Even with the rise of risk factors, suicide rates have remained relatively flat in Utah over the last year. This is likely due to the increase in supportive mental health services such as SafeUT.”

The rise in users and activity has reportedly had a positive increase in tips as well. SafeUT said it received just over 8,500 tips regarding suicide, bullying, and depression in the last fiscal year. These tips came from students in K-12 and higher education, parents/guardians, and educators and were a substantial increase from just over 6,200 tips received in the previous year.

According to the report, 87% of SafeUT users feel heard with 62.5% going on to seek additional mental health services. According to CDC reports, since a spike in suicides in 2017, Utah suicides have been steadily decreasing year-over-year.

“The SafeUT team has stepped up to the challenge, provided professional solutions, and saved more lives than ever before,” said Contrell.