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By Sgt. Nathaniel Free
Public Affairs Office
A new suicide prevention and awareness app went live Dec. 6, 2019, designed to support Utah National Guard service members and families in crisis.
The SafeUTNG app is free to download from the Android and Apple app stores, providing service members and their families with a safe, confidential platform to communicate with a crisis counselor 24/7.
Download via Google Play:
Download via Apple App Store:
“Speaking up when in crisis, whether it’s in person or over the phone, can be uncomfortable for many,” said Robert Spencer, Suicide Prevention Program Manager of the Utah Army National Guard. “Communicating via apps or text has been the main way in which Soldiers and Airmen prefer to correspond."
The app works similarly to the SafeUT app, which was introduced to middle and high school aged students in 2018, and has already been credited with saving lives, according to Spencer.
"What SafeUTNG will do is provide a simple pipeline for service and family members to anonymously reach out and get needed help for themselves or someone else,” said Spencer. “That help will come from trained mental health professionals, not limited to peers and unit leaders with whom they rub shoulders.”
Using the SafeUTNG app, service members can initiate a live confidential call or chat with behavioral health providers receiving help or lifesaving tips. The app is managed by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute in partnership with the UTNG. Depending on the severity of the situation, UNI can activate local emergency response. Tips not deemed emergencies will be forwarded to privileged UTNG behavioral health providers. In case of emergency or active crime, the app encourages users to call 911. (Note: It is a crime to send false reports). This app serves as another tool to enable Soldiers and Airmen to help others or find help for themselves.
Updated January 13, 2020.
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