A Tooele County School District administrator has received statewide recognition for her part in the fight against teen suicide.
Marianne Oborn, the school district’s director of counseling and social services, received the Advocate of the Year Award from the Youth Suicide Prevention Summit in a ceremony held at Murray High School on Jan. 6.
Oborn was selected for her role in implementing the SafeUT app in the school district.
“Part of the reason we have seen a decrease in suicidality is because of the level of commitment seen from the Tooele County School District,” said Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City. “I have seen a lot of school districts and crisis intervention programs, and have never seen anybody as tireless and committed as Marianne Oborn.”
Thatcher was the Senate sponsor of the bill who created the SafeUT app. He, along with Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, the House sponsor of the SafeUT bill, and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, presented the award to Oborn.
The school district rolled out the SafeUT app in April 2016 with a series of trainings for both staff and students.
The SafeUT app is a mobile application that is compatible with both Apple and Android devices. It can be downloaded at Apple and Google play stores.
Students can use the app to report tips about school safety as well as to talk or chat directly with a trained crisis counselor. Possible school safety tips that can be reported using SafeUT include information on bullying, suicide, sexual misconduct, planned school attacks, and other safety issues.
Pictures and videos can be attached to tips. SafeUT is anonymous and confidential.
SafeUT puts students in contact by chat or by voice with a crisis counselor at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Oborn has been instrumental in the school district’s suicide prevention and education efforts, according to Tooele County School District Superintendent Scott Rogers.
“We have made this our top priority for the last few years,” Rogers said. “That’s why we reorganized around counseling and social services and made Marianne Oborn the director over this department. Student health and wellness comes before college and career readiness.”
Prior to being named the director of counseling and social services, Oborn was the school district’s director of career and technical education, which included the district’s counseling services.
Oborn said the school district’s suicide prevention efforts have been a group effort.
“I am appreciative of Sen. Thatcher and Rep. Eliason for their support of the SafeUT app,” Oborn said. “Being able to move forward with implementing this life-saving app is a team effort. It helps when you have a superintendent who appreciates and supports the counseling program and suicide prevention efforts with what we are trying to do to help students.”