HMHI Releases Community Crisis Intervention 2021 Annual Report

Today – Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) released its Community Crisis Intervention Annual Report for 2021, showing the demand for mental health crisis services reached record heights over the past year. This includes a 32% increase in calls to the Utah Crisis Line.

“The pandemic has exacerbated an already growing mental health crisis,” says Mark H. Rapaport, MD, CEO HMHI. “We know that an integrated crisis response system is vital to our success at addressing the challenges facing our state. I thank the state legislature for their visionary investments in mental health and prioritizing crisis services over the past decade to build a best-in-class system that is nationally recognized.

Through collaboration with many partners, HMHI has managed and provided crisis services to Utahns for more than 35 years. HMHI provides access to innovative mental health crisis care through the following statewide services at no cost to the client.

  • The Utah Crisis Line (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) provides statewide phone-based support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by certified crisis counselors. Last year, 92,532 calls were received, and 1,353 life-saving interventions were initiated.
  • Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams (MCOTs) are available in every county in Utah and dispatched through the Utah Crisis Line. HMHI provides rapid, in-person crisis intervention services to residents of Salt Lake County. MCOTs may respond directly to the individual or family in need and in conjunction with law enforcement and EMS. In 2021, 6,661 contacts were made in Salt Lake County; 85% of youth, and 79% of adults had their crisis resolved.
  • Utah Warm Line, a statewide phone-based service for emotional help and support staffed by peer support specialists seven days a week, 8 am to 11 pm. Last year, The Utah Warm Line received 29,903 calls.
  • SafeUT smartphone app offers 24/7 chat and school safety tip support for K-12 and higher education students, parents, and educators, as well as National Guard members and frontline workers. In 2021, 850,790 students across Utah had access to the app. 30,527 total chats and tips were received through the app, and 298 life-saving interventions were initiated.
  • Safe Care Transition allows HMHI crisis care staff to provide follow-up calls to individuals aged 10-24 who indicated any level of suicidal thoughts or intent during their visit to HMHI or several emergency departments across Salt Lake Valley. The program helps people feel valued and supported during a vulnerable time. The series of outbound phone calls are known as “caring connections.” In 2021, 7,716 caring connections were made.

According to the National Council of Behavioral Health, the ideal crisis system includes a full continuum of crisis components, including a crisis call center, mobile crisis services, walk-in urgent care, secure crisis center, 23-hour observation, residential crisis services, hospitalization, and outpatient services. HMHI’s holistic approach to mental health and crisis services covers all of these areas, providing care for everyone in need—from children to adults facing any type of mental health crisis.

In 2024, HMHI will expand services for individuals in psychiatric distress with the opening of the Mental Health Crisis Care Center in Salt Lake County. The state-of-the-art facility will provide a compassionate evaluation for people in crisis and their families. The new center will provide those at any level of care with access to personalized case management and individualized recovery plans.

“From the crisis lines we manage to the mobile care teams we dispatch, our integrated crisis intervention system aims to provide our state with the best possible mental health crisis support, connect individuals to ongoing care, and reduce stigma and shame so people will get the help they need,” Rapaport says. “The new Mental Health Crisis Care Center is a critical part of making the whole system work.”

Looking Ahead – 988

HMHI is working closely with the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Vibrant Emotional Health, and many statewide and national partners to prepare for the launch of 988. The new three-digit number will route callers to Utah’s crisis response system at HMHI and replace the current 10-digit phone number (1-800-273-8255). The 988 concept was developed in Utah and championed nationally by Representative Chris Stewart and Senator Orrin Hatch in 2017. 988 became federal law in October 2020.

“We are working hard to ensure that when 988 launches, we are ready and can maintain and improve the quality of crisis services we are currently providing,” says Rachel Lucynski, Business Operations Manager, Community Crisis Services at HMHI “988 is a historic milestone and we’re grateful and excited to be part of the state and national efforts to improve access to mental health services.”

Advanced Practice Clinical Laboratory Training Center Secures $3 Million in Federal Funding

Medical laboratory professionals such as this pair at work at ARUP are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that nearly 26,000 more of these highly trained specialists will be needed each year through 2030.

ARUP Laboratories and the University of Utah’s Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences have secured $3 million in federal funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration to build a new Advanced Practice Clinical Laboratory Training Center. The center will bolster educational opportunities for students in medical laboratory sciences in Utah and beyond and help address a critical need for highly trained laboratory professionals nationwide.

The $3 million in community project funding was included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Division of the Consolidated Appropriations Act approved by Congress and signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022. It will fund a first-of-its kind collaboration between ARUP and the U made possible by Rep. Chris Stewart’s help in securing the appropriation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us how important well-trained laboratory professionals are to providing accurate and timely test results that are critical to the delivery of the best patient care,” said Tracy George, MD, ARUP president and chief scientific officer. “Working together, we’ve come up with an innovative solution, and we’re so pleased that it can now move from concept to reality.”

“ARUP is grateful to Congressman Stewart for advocating for this important project that will improve the health of so many Utahns,” George said.

Medical laboratory professionals were already in high demand before the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for these highly qualified workers. In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that an additional 25,900 medical laboratory scientists will be needed each year through 2030, adding to a labor force that currently numbers more than 335,000.

“It will make a huge difference in the training of future laboratory professionals,” Wilkins said. “This collaborative effort is really a very creative way to increase the number of students we can graduate each year.”

She anticipates that the availability of the training center, which will be on the ARUP campus at University of Utah Research Park, will enable the U to reach its goal of doubling the number of annual graduates to 80.

George said the $3 million appropriation will fund the training center’s construction as well as state-of-the-art instrumentation that will enable students to gain valuable experience in specialized testing in clinical chemistry, hematology, coagulation, immunohematology, microbiology, virology, and immunology.

Beyond the federal funds, the Department of Pathology’s Medical Laboratory Science Division will provide funding for faculty and staff to develop and implement curriculum and to provide instruction and assessment. The program has also secured a grant for a laboratory information system to be used in the training center.

The partners are already solidifying plans for the new center. Upon completion of construction, the plan is for the training center to officially open in 2024.

Visit this page to learn more about the Medical Laboratory Sciences Division’s programs. Additional information about the profession is also available at ARUP’s MLS Faculty and Student Resource Center.

About ARUP Laboratories

Founded in 1984, ARUP Laboratories is a leading national reference laboratory and a nonprofit enterprise of the University of Utah and its Department of Pathology. ARUP offers more than 3,000 tests and test combinations, ranging from routine screening tests to esoteric molecular and genetic assays. ARUP serves clients across the United States, including many of the nation’s top university teaching hospitals and children’s hospitals, as well as multihospital groups, major commercial laboratories, group purchasing organizations, military and other government facilities, and major clinics. In addition, ARUP is a worldwide leader in innovative laboratory research and development, led by the efforts of the ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology®. ARUP is ISO 15189 CAP accredited.

About University of Utah Health

University of Utah Health is the state’s only academic healthcare system, providing leading-edge and compassionate care for a referral area that encompasses 10 percent of the US, including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and much of Nevada. A hub for health sciences research and education in the region, U of U Health has a $458 million research enterprise and trains the majority of Utah’s physicians, including more than 1,460 health care providers each year at its Colleges of Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Schools of Dentistry and Medicine. With more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and five hospitals: University Hospital, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, University Orthopaedic Center, and the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital. For 13 straight years, U of U Health has ranked among the top 10 US academic medical centers in the rigorous Vizient Quality and Accountability Study.

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