SafeUTNG App Reporting Early Success

By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Public Affairs Office | Feb. 12, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah —

A suicide prevention and awareness app that went live in December has already reported preliminary success, according to Robert Spencer, Suicide Prevention Program Manager of the Utah Army National Guard, Feb. 12, 2020.

"What SafeUTNG has done 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.

The app, known as SafeUTNG, was designed to support Utah National Guard service members and families in crisis. It’s 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.

In a span of only two months since going live, the app has been downloaded nearly 800 times from the Apple and Google Play markets (541 downloads from Apple, 253 downloads from Google Play). From these downloads, behavioral health providers from the University Neuropsychiatric Institute received 15 tips, which resulted in 42 confidential in-app chats and 817 threads. A thread is the online equivalent of a conversation. Each tip had an average of 65 conversations.

“I strongly recommend each and every Service Member download the SafeUTNG app, whether they feel they are in a crisis or not,” said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Turley, adjutant general, Utah National Guard. “I have full faith and confidence in the behavioral health providers working behind the scenes at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute to make this app possible. We’ve seen firsthand how it can save lives.”

The SafeUTNG app can be download via Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.universityofutahhealth.safeutng&hl=en_US

or Apple App Store

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/safeutng/id1488643677

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 Spencer.

“Speaking up when in crisis, whether it’s in person or over the phone, can be uncomfortable for many,” said Spencer. “Communicating via apps or text has been the main way in which Soldiers and Airmen prefer to correspond."

Using the SafeUTNG app, service members can initiate a live confidential call or chat with behavioral health providers to receive help or lifesaving tips. The app is managed 24/7 by the University 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.

“Several of the Soldiers I work with have used the chat function on the app,” said Capt. Juliann Jeppsen, Director of Behavioral Health for the Utah National Guard. “I personally know each and every behavioral health provider on the other end of that chat.”

Jeppsen spends most weekends working at the UNI call center or going out with mobile crisis teams. Jeppsen said, on average, the response time for chat messages are less than 30 seconds. She has been working on the development of the app for nearly two years, and provided the behavioral health experts at UNI with specialized military training to better understand the everyday challenges faced by Utah service members.

Every service member who downloads the SafeUTNG app will carry a virtual lifeline in their pocket.

 

-30-

Some photos provided by Marketing & Communications, University of Utah Health. In general, all media on the site is produced by U.S. DoD or Federal Agencies, and is in the public domain, i.e., not protected by U.S. copyright; however, other restrictions might apply, such as, but not limited to, the right to enforce trademarks, and the right of privacy/right of publicity, any of which might restrict use of some of the media. Media may not be used to imply endorsement of any product or service by the DoD. Proper credit of the producing journalist(s) is requested.

 

 

 

 

Approximately 200 Utah National Guard Soldiers returned to Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 7, 2020 following an activation at the request of the Secretary of Defense to augment civil authorities in Washington, D.C. amid civil unrest. Soldiers from Group Support Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) spent five days in D.C. providing security at national monuments and assisting in cleanup efforts.
Utah Army National Guard’s “Monuments Men” return to Salt Lake City following D.C. civil unrest
By 1st Lt. MARK SAGVOLD | June 15, 2020
Approximately 200 Utah Army National Guard Soldiers returned home to Salt Lake City, Utah, June 7,

A Utah National Guard Mobile Testing Team member conducts a nasopharyngeal sample collection on a Soldier in Salt Lake City to test if they are a carrier of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, May 27, 2020. To collect a sample a flocked swab is sent through the nasal cavity and will stay there for 20 seconds, be twisted and removed.
Protecting the Force
By Spc. Bryton Bluth | June 9, 2020
The Utah National Guard’s Mobile Testing Team administered nasopharyngeal swabs, testing Soldiers

Airman of the 151st Security Forces Squadron answer the call of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, to provide an extra layer of safety and security in response to demonstrations and rioting at the Utah State Capitol, as well as, the Salt Lake City and County Building.  (US Air National Guard  photo by Tech. Sgt. Joe A. Davis)
Utah Guard Activated by Order of the Governor
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free, 801-716-9162 | May 31, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Approximately 200 members of the Utah National Guard were activated by order

Members of Utah's 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction, Civil Support Team (CST), Hawaii's 93rd CST, Guam's 94th CST and Alaska's 103rd CST train for disaster support on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
85th Civil Support Team responds in times of need
By Tech Sgt. John Winn | May 20, 2020
Members of the Utah National Guard's 85th Civil Support team respond to a myriad of situations including chemical spills, drug epidemics, nuclear detection and more, the mission of the CST is broad, but indispensable.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, assigned to the Utah National Guard, participate in medical training as a response force to Covid-19 in Sandy, Utah, May 12, 2020. Soldiers and Airmen with Utah National Guard will be assisting medical professionals in mobile Corona Virus test sites around the state as a service to Utah Residents. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Pfc. Jacob Jesperson)
Utah National Guard Supports Utah Department of Health with COVID-19 Response
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | May 19, 2020
More than 100 soldiers and airmen from the Utah National Guard arrived at the Mountain America Expo

As of May 14, 2020, the Utah National Guard has packaged 487,419 items of PPE, and delivered 45,066 packages to 3,601 businesses across Utah, from an improvised warehouse at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The Utah National Guard will continue to receive, stage and ship items of PPE to businesses across the state.
The Utah National Guard Helps Reopen Local Economy
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | May 19, 2020
In a warehouse-sized dock at the back of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

A Black Hawk helicopter crew from 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Utah National Guard drops water on the Saddle Fire in Midway, Utah, May 14, 2020. Two UH-60 Black Hawks were in the air above Midway by 9 a.m. and dropped 85 to 90 bucket loads of water on the fire.
Utah Guard Aviation Fights Saddle Fire
By Ileen Kennedy | May 19, 2020
Black Hawk helicopter aircrews from 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment,

Soldiers assigned to the Utah National Guard's 1st Battalion, 211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Aviation Regiment, depart the Army Aviation Support Facility, West Jordan, Utah, May 7, 2020. The battalion, comprised of three companies of AH-64 Apache helicopters and more than 300 soldiers, will provide combat air support to ground forces during the year-long deployment. (Utah National Guard photo by Ileen.Kennedy)
Utah Guard's Aviation Battalion Deploys During Pandemic 
By Ileen Kennedy | May 13, 2020
In this time of crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 300 Utah National Guard Soldiers

On April 16, 2020, Pvt. 1st Class Hope Torok took the final step to join the Utah National Guard, during one of the worst weeks of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.
“I’ve worked in retail pretty much all of my working years,” Torok explained. “During Covid-19 in March, I was furloughed from my work since it is considered a non-essential job.”
As a furloughed, non-essential worker, Torok said she had more time to think about what she wanted in life. She decided to sit down with a recruiter.
A message of hope: Utahns volunteer for military service during pandemic
By Spc. Felicia Olmos and Sgt. Nathaniel Free | April 30, 2020
Utahns continue to volunteer for military service despite increased restrictions on recruiting and

Spc. Kalani Bedell, a parachute rigger from the 19th Special Forces Group sews together two layers of fabric in this stage of mask production to protect Utah National Guard Soldiers during the Covid-19 Pandemic April 15, 2020 on Camp Williams. Masks are based on instructions from University of Florida Health, two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon
Parachute Riggers Make Face Masks to Protect the Utah National Guard
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | April 21, 2020
To slow the spread of COVID-19 among Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard, parachute