Safe UT: U of U app works to curb teen suicide

Safe UT: U of U app works to curb teen suicide (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — The University of Utah’s “Safe UT” app may have contributed to a 20 percent decrease in youth suicide attempts in Utah.

In the one year since the app’s launch, tens of thousands of teens have used the tool to communicate with licensed social workers to help them through emotional crises.

Preliminary data from the state health department shows a 20 percent decrease in suicide attempts.

"This is a new tool that students have now that they've never had before," said developer Barry Rose.

Rose said the format helps resonates with the younger generation.

"It's kind of been amazing to us, that they've talked to us about really sensitive, personal things that I think they would have more troubles talking with an adult over the phone," Rose said. "We're reaching that group we were never able to do before, so that's really exciting for us."

Rainey Boateng, a licensed clinical social worker, has responded to thousands of patients in need.

"I have had young people say, 'You saved my life. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have somebody to talk to.’"

The app is available on the Apple App Store and on the Google Play Store.

The University of Utah’s UNI, or University Neuropsychiatric Institute, responds to more than 5,000 patients a month.

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