By Daniel Thatcher
Utah State Senator

Suicide is the leading cause of death for kids in Utah over the age of 10, in part because most Utahns do not know how to reach help in a time of crisis. Worse, the phone numbers and service levels are wildly different from one part of the State to another. No cry for help should ever go to voicemail. To help solve this problem, the Statewide Crisis Line Commission has proposed four bills to provide universal access to crisis intervention services. All Four bills passed a Legislative Interim committee unanimously.

The four bills determined by the commission as critical to changing the tide of the suicide epidemic include:

SB 31: Utah Mobile Crisis Outreach Team Act 
This bill creates a new type of first responder, specializing in mental health

SB 32: Mental Health Crisis Line Commission Sunset Amendments
This bill extends the commission to continue work for 5 more years

HB 41: Mental Health Crisis Line Amendments
This bill provides for a statewide crisis line available 24/7

HB 42: Medicaid Waiver for Mental Health Crisis Services
This bill asks that Medicaid cover intervention services

If we are successful in our requests for funding, by this time next year we will have a single number statewide for crisis intervention staffed 24/7 by professionals and a new type of first responder specifically trained for mental and behavioral health.

Thanks to the efforts of more community groups and individual allies than I could possibly name, we are changing the conversation about Suicide and Crisis Intervention in Utah forever.  We continue gathering new allies as people overcome the stigma and fear surrounding this work and come to the table to add their support.

Finally, let’s take a moment to remember those who brought us here; both those we lost, and those we saved.  Most importantly, let us celebrate exceptional people who have been on the front lines and have dedicated their lives and careers to serving those in crisis and supporting those in need. You will forever have my gratitude.

This effort takes many people working together. I’d like to thank some. First, I couldn’t have done any of this without my legislative brother in arms, Representative Steve Eliason. In no particular order, I would also like to thank:

SafeUT Commission:

Ric Cantrell – Chair
Daniel Thatcher
Steve Eliason
Tori Yates
Ammon Mauga
Barry Rose
Barbara Stallone
Teresa Brechlin
Lillian Tsosie-Jensen
John DeGrey
Ry Wilson

Statewide Crisis Commission:

Ross Van Vranken – Chair
Spencer Cox
Daniel Thatcher
Steve Eliason
Aimee Winder Newton
Becky Schaefer
Tim Whalen
Ruth Wilson
Missy Larsen
Mike Trapletti
Barry Rose
Doug Gray
Doug Thomas

UNI Staff:

Ross Van Vranken
Barry Rose
Mike Trapletti
Tori Yates
Sarah Latta
Juliana Briscoe
The entire staff at UNI

Utah Office of Attorney General Utah Attorney:

Sean Reyes
Wade Farraway
Missy Larsen
Ric Cantrell
Dan Burton
Katherine Rhodes
Thanks to the Attorney General’s office for administrative staffing of our two commissions

State Office of Education:

Syd Dickson
Lillian Tsosie-Jensen
Corby Eason
Kathy Davis

Champions of SafeUT:

Laura Warburton
Marianne Oborn
Greg Hudnall
Josh Hansen

Daniel Thatcher
Daniel ThatcherUtah State Senator | District 12
Senator Thatcherr (R) has represented Senate District 12 since 2011. His district includes parts of Salt Lake and Tooele counties.