Teen suicide risk in Utah is multiples of the national average. During the school year just ended, seven students at one Utah high school died at their own hand. The problem isn’t new this year. Many people are working at strategies to end the pattern. One initiative is the SafeUT app.
Utah kids are encouraged to download the app to their phones and to keep it where they can see it in hopes that the constant reminder will get them to use it when they need it–when they’re thinking about harming themselves.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the app is working. One youth, contemplating a suicide attempt, decided to text a last note to a loved one. Upon opening the phone, he saw the app, opened it and engaged with a professional counselor and decided not to harm himself. He’s thriving today.
Interview with Missy Wilson Larsen, the Founding Chair of SafeUT.
The following is the pre-interview with Missy Wilson Larsen. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
More about SafeUT:
The SafeUT Crisis Text and Tip Line is a statewide service in Utah that provides real-time crisis intervention to anyone in need, especially youth, through a smartphone app. The app allows users to chat, text, or call licensed clinicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, the app has a function for students to report safety concerns to school administrators or law enforcement anonymously. The crisis line clinicians respond to incoming chats, texts, and calls by providing supportive or crisis counseling, suicide prevention tools, and/or referral services. Anyone with needs rooted in emotional crises, bullying, relationship problems, mental health, or suicide related issues is invited to reach out through SafeUT.
SafeUT is free and confidential.
If an “active rescue” is necessary where the crisis counselor believes the user is in immediate danger, the clinician will alert emergency services to attempt a face-to-face safety evaluation based on the information provided by the user.
For-profit/Nonprofit: Government Resource
Revenue model: Funded through the State of Utah
Scale: SafeUT is a critical resource for those in mental health crisis and students who have safety tips throughout Utah and beyond. It is also the basis for a national 3-digit call number that Senator Hatch is introducing in DC
Missy Wilson Larsen’s bio:
Over the past 25 years Missy has become recognized for her collaboration and results-focused work in business, non-profit, and government leadership. She has built a successful career on a passion to connect resources for community-building initiatives. Before joining the innovative team at doTERRA International this year, she served as Chief of Staff to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes where she oversaw policy issues, office administration, community outreach, and partner alliances.
In the early 1990’s, Missy served as Press Secretary, Spokesperson & Business Liaison for the late U.S. Congressman Bill Orton (UT, 3) and in 1994, she solely launched INTREPID PR, an award-winning firm based in Salt Lake City. After a decade of success, she left the agency to care for her four children and continued to represent some of Utah’s most valued businesses and organizations at their request. In 2009, after mentoring a Somali-Bantu refugee family, Missy co-founded the Utah Refugee Coalition (now Utah Refugee Connection) as an organization to connect government offices, non-profit organizations, and businesses with a core mission of helping incoming refugees integrate into Utah communities and build self-sufficiency. Today the organization connects refugees and refugee providers with needed resources and volunteers.
Missy is the founding Chair of the statewide SafeUT Crisis and Tip Line Commission and currently chairs the Utah Refugee Connection Board, serves as Vice President of Government Relations for the Boy Scouts of America Greater Salt Lake Council, and serves on the World Trade Center Utah Board, Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors, Anti Bullying Coalition, and on the Hale Centre Theatre Board. She has served on numerous boards over the past 25 years and continues to volunteer as a refugee mentor to a Somali Bantu family. Missy and her husband, Sam, are the parents of four children.
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