SafeUT Crisis Counselors Exchange More Than 1 Million Chats In Fiscal Year

Huntsman Mental Health Institute’s SafeUT app exchanged more than 1 million chats in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Today, SafeUT publishes its 2021-22 annual report. This comprehensive report outlines key statistics about the statewide SafeUT app related to utilization, chats, and life-saving interventions, school threats, and the impact of COVID-19 on SafeUT use. 

For the first time, SafeUT mental health counselors with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) exchanged more than 1 million messages with students, parents/guardians, educators, frontline workers, National Guard members, and their families. 

Mental health counselors respond to all incoming chats and calls, providing supportive or crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services. If SafeUT users are actively attempting suicide or have plans to harm themselves, SafeUT works in coordination with first responders to initiate an active rescue. Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, SafeUT conducted 349 life-saving interventions—a 17 percent increase from last year’s 298 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 Cantrell, 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 SafeUT team has stepped up to the challenge, provided professional solutions, and saved more lives than ever before.”

Data show that 87 percent of SafeUT users reported that the app made them feel heard, and 93 percent said counselors showed respect for what they had to say. At least 62.5 percent said SafeUT has made them more likely to seek additional mental health services.  

“We’re encouraged to see that SafeUT counselors are making a measurable impact on the well-being of Utahns,” said Rachel Lucynski, director of community crisis services at Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “Our staff is saving lives. We’re all grateful for their dedication and service to improving mental health care access for all.” 

More key statistics from the 2021-22 annual report: 

  • 882,427 students have access to the SafeUT app across Utah, up from 850,790 last year. 
  • SafeUT received 8,537 total tips from Utah K-12 and higher ed students, parents/guardians, and educators, including 1,579 suicide tips, 994 bullying tips, and 456 depression tips. That’s up from 6,274 last year. 
  • SafeUT received 801 tips for potential school threats or acts of violence, including 157 for guns, 149 for planned attacks, 75 for assault, and 70 for fights. That’s up from 256 threat tips last year. 

For youth who may often feel like their opinions and struggles are ignored or devalued, SafeUT provides the listening ear to support hurting youth on their journey to recovery. 

The app has expanded to include other populations of Utahns at risk for mental health crisis, including SafeUT National Guard for Utah Air and Army National Guard members, civilian personnel, and their families, along with SafeUT Frontline for Utah law enforcement, firefighters/EMS, health care providers, and their families. 

SafeUT allows people facing any type of crisis to chat confidentially with a counselor, call a certified crisis worker directly, or submit confidential tips to crisis counselors. The app is staffed by master’s level trained crisis counselors at HMHI and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

SafeUT has been recognized nationwide for its effectiveness in saving lives and de-escalating school incidents. The 2021-22 SafeUT annual report is available for download. You can also learn more about SafeUT.

SafeUT partners include HMHI and University of Utah Health, Utah Attorney General’s Office, Utah State Board of Education, Utah System of Higher Education, Utah State House of Representatives, Utah State Senate, Utah Department of Health and Human Services, and law enforcement and emergency response.

Huntsman Mental Health Institute Celebrates $7 Million in Public and Private Funds to Expand Mental Health Services for Utahns

HMHI will receive $7 million in private and public funds—$3.5 million from the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation and $3.5 million from Salt Lake County—to expand mental health crisis services in Utah.

Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) will receive $7 million in public and private funds to expand mental health services in Utah. Of those funds, $3.5 million is a generous donation from the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, and $3.5 million in funding is being committed by Salt Lake County, a key partner with HMHI in expanding mental health crisis services. 

“HMHI is a leader in mental health care and a pioneering force in expanding the understanding of complex functions of the brain,” says University of Utah President Taylor Randall. “This generous donation by the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation and funding from Salt Lake County will help HMHI prioritize mental health care to create better outcomes for everyone.” 

The Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation has committed $3.5 million to construct what will be known as the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Integrated Healing and Innovation Center within the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center. The Integrated Healing and Innovation Center will provide legal support services, case management, medical and dental support, and mental wellness counseling. 

“We are grateful to the Salt Lake County Council, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation for their continued support,” says Mark H. Rapaport, MD, CEO of HMHI. “This type of cross-sector collaboration is crucial for expanding and improving mental health care in our community and beyond.” 

The Salt Lake County Council will co-sponsor $2.5 million in one-time federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund a temporary mental health receiving center at the existing Huntsman Mental Health Institute. These funds will cover the cost of retrofitting and expanding an existing space at HMHI, as well as 17 months of staffing.  

The council also approved funding for an additional $1 million from Mayor Jenny Wilson’s budget to go toward the building of the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center. 

“These funds ensure we continue to provide exceptional care for patients in crisis,” says Michael L. Good, MD, CEO of University of Utah Health. “U of U Health greatly appreciates the advocacy and leadership of the Salt Lake County Council, Mayor Wilson, and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation in helping to care for the mental health of our community.” 


Huntsman Mental Health Institute 

Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) was established in 2021 following the Huntsman Foundation’s historic gift to the University of Utah of $150 million. HMHI is a university-wide Institute with a reputation throughout the Mountain West as a leader in advanced psychiatric treatment and care, serving a diverse population from young children to geriatric patients. Researchers at HMHI develop and apply the most advanced methods in genetics, imaging, epidemiology, and big data analysis. HMHI is also the regional training center for psychiatry and other mental health disciplines. HMHI’s main 170 bed full-service hospital is adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and HMHI’s 1,691 faculty, staff, and students provide clinical, research, and training programs in over 20 locations across Utah and Idaho.  

For more information, visit HMHIand join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Mental Health Crisis Care Center 

When the doors of the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Crisis Care Center open in 2024, it will be a welcoming place for all adults. The Center will help individuals de-escalate, stabilize, and connect to community resources catered to their individual mental health needs. The Center will help people facing a psychiatric crisis get on the path to mental wellness by unifying critical crisis services and many community resources in one easy-to-access location. The building design and operations will ensure patients and their families feel welcome, respected, and secure throughout every step of their care. 

Researchers will work alongside clinicians, patients and their families to develop evidence-based best practices for treatment and care and develop new approaches for helping people. It will also be a site for training future generations of crisis care professionals including social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and many more. Learn more or make a life-changing donation.

Ad Council Announces $65 Million Multi-Year Mental Health Initiative

Huntsman Mental Health Institute Makes Lead $15 Million Contribution

Half (49%) of American residents ages 16 to 65 say they have a mental health condition, and of those who report a condition, only about half (48%) say they’re getting help or treatment, according to a new study conducted in May to June 2022 released today by the Ad Council. Additionally, 43% do not feel comfortable talking to people close to them about their emotions and how they are feeling. To address the mental health crisis throughout the U.S. and encourage people to take steps to support their mental health, the Ad Council announced plans for a wide-reaching and comprehensive communications effort. With a founding gift of $15 million from Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI), the national Mental Health Initiative has set a goal of $65 million over the next seven years.

On the heels of the nonprofit’s groundbreaking national COVID-19 Vaccine Education campaign which reached more than 75% of those eligible to be vaccinated, the Ad Council is evolving the coalition-based and multi-audience model that made it so successful and mobilizing the advertising, media and marketing industries to address mental health issues facing communities across the country.

Due to cascading challenges over the last few years in the U.S., many populations are now experiencing mental health struggles:

  • Four in 10 adults reported anxiety and/or depression symptoms in 2021, a four-fold increase from 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Black adults (48%) and Hispanic adults (46%) were more likely than White adults (41%) to report such symptoms.
  • Youth and young adults across the country are experiencing increasing mental health challenges. According to a 2021 study, 37.1% of U.S. high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 19.9% considering and 9% attempting suicide in the preceding year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • The rate of LGBTQ+ teens who experience depressive symptoms is believed to be six times higher than heterosexual teens. (Mental Health America)

“We have all been touched by the mental health crisis—it’s one that we’ve experienced for many years, but which was greatly exacerbated by COVID-19 and a confluence of other factors including the ongoing fight for racial justice and the challenging economy,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO. “We’ve seen the incredible progress that can be made when the Ad Council convenes a coalition of partners around a singular issue. Together, we’re uniquely poised to reshape the conversations around mental health and help millions of Americans when they need it most.”

Guided by mental health experts, amplified by partnerships across every sector and rooted in extensive research with key audiences, the initiative aims to change social norms, reduce stigma around mental health and encourage people to take a proactive approach to their mental health issues. With the founding contribution from HMHI, a premier university-wide institute dedicated to psychiatric research, education and treatment at the University of Utah, the Ad Council will bring together a coalition of leading mental health NGOs, including American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychological Association, The Jed Foundation, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Council for Mental Wellness, Peg’s Foundation and the Steinberg Institute; federal agencies and private sector corporations for this collaborative effort. The effort will be rooted in deep cultural insights and informed by a panel of experts from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), The Curtis Center for Health Equity, the Chester M. Pierce MD Division of Global Psychiatry, The Jed Foundation and the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, GLAAD, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, among others.

Funding will support the development of a best-in-class insights and analytics engine to inform and evaluate the impact of relevant content, an extensive trusted messenger program, employer workplace resources, grassroots community activations and a large scale multi-pronged communications effort with discrete campaigns and open-source partner toolkits for populations in need.

Established in 2021 following a $150 million gift from the Huntsman Foundation, HMHI is designed to be a convener, collaborator, care giver and problem solver. HMHI’s intent is to bring together the best of all fields to develop innovative solutions to complex disorders like substance use and addiction, depression and suicide, and solve mental health challenges like workforce shortages and stigma.

“Huntsman Mental Health Institute has a grand vision to truly transform mental health for every person—a vision that stretches beyond Utah and the Mountain West,” says Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, CEO, Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “This audacious goal requires us to adopt out-of-the-box solutions and develop bold collaborations inside and outside healthcare to tackle the complex mental health challenges facing our society. We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with the Ad Council; we believe this is a transformative partnership that will yield real and lasting change.”

Mental health has long been a priority issue for the Ad Council, with three national campaigns currently running: Teen and Young Adult Mental Health (Seize the Awkward) in partnership with The Jed Foundation and AFSP created by Droga5, Middle School Mental Health (Sound It Out) in partnership with Pivotal Ventures created by McCann, Cassanova and Egami, and Veterans’ Suicide Prevention (Don’t Wait, Reach Out) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs created by TBWA. A new national campaign will launch in spring 2023 to reach adults, particularly men, as well as Black and Hispanic communities. The new campaign is being created pro bono by ad agency FCB. IPG Mediabrands is the media agency of record, as an extension of IPG’s longstanding support of the Ad Council’s mental health efforts. The new Mental Health Initiative will encompass current campaigns and new efforts to meet the needs of multiple audiences. Together, the initiative will address the needs of Black, Hispanic, rural, LGBTQ+ and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations.

Media companies and platforms including Amazon Ads, Audacy, CSMG/EsportsU, Effectv, FOX, Google & YouTube, Meta, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Pinterest, Snap Inc. and TikTok have been supporting the Ad Council’s mental health efforts and will continue to support content produced as part of the initiative in donated media time and space.

To reach communities of color in a culturally relevant way, the Ad Council is also developing a comprehensive “ground game” strategy in partnership with agencies who have deep expertise in the Black community (JOY Collective), Hispanic community (Latinovations) and the faith community (Values Partnerships). The Ad Council will collaborate with community-based organizations including UnidosUS, culturally relevant programs including How Sweet the Sound, and trusted messengers to provide mental health education programs, conduct events and coordinate town halls.

Additionally, a robust employer effort via the Health Action Alliance will be deployed to address mental health among America’s workforce. With more than 4,000 participating companies, the Health Action Alliance provides free tools, training, best practices and events to help all employers support the mental health of their workforce. The Health Action Alliance is a joint initiative of the Ad Council, CDC Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation, National Safety Council and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — in partnership with Meteorite.

The Mental Health Initiative will be similarly structured to the Ad Council’s impactful COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Launched in February 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative produced more than 800 pieces of PSA content, provided vaccine information in over seven languages, hosted more than 150 events, worked with nearly 300 influencers and trusted messengers and garnered more than $305 million in donated media.

To learn more or contribute to the Ad Council’s Mental Health Initiative, please visit

The Ad Council

The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, starting in the organization’s earliest days during World War II to September 11th and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Its deep relationships with media outlets, the creative community, issue experts and government leaders make the organization uniquely poised to quickly distribute life-saving information to millions of Americans.

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels. The Ad Council’s innovative social impact campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) was established in 2021 following the Huntsman Foundation’s historic gift to the University of Utah of $150 million. HMHI is a university-wide Institute with a reputation throughout the Mountain West as a leader in advanced psychiatric treatment and care, serving a diverse population from young children to geriatric patients. Researchers at HMHI develop and apply the most advanced methods in genetics, imaging, epidemiology, and big data analysis. HMHI is also the regional training center for psychiatry and other mental health disciplines. HMHI’s main 170-bed full-service hospital is adjacent to the University of Utah campus, and HMHI’s 1,691 faculty, staff, and students provide clinical, research, and training programs in over 20 locations across Utah and Idaho. For more information, visit and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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