LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rep. Ken Fleming (R, Louisville) plans to file a bill next week that would formally establish the Kentucky Mental Health Safety Center within UofL Health.
What You Need To Know
- Rep. Ken Fleming plans to file a bill next week related to a new crisis intervention app
- The project is based off a similar initiative in Utah
- Students, parents and teachers could use the app confidentially
- Starting with a smaller pilot project, UofL Health Peace Hospital would provide licensed personnel to respond to users of the app
The center would administer and manage a free, confidential crisis intervention app for students, parents and teachers called SafeKY.
“It’s a great avenue to help prevent suicide, help kids in terms of depression, anxiety, but also has another component,” said Fleming. “Another component is basically looking at school safety, when you find kids maybe coming in bringing in guns or bullying.”
It’s based on an existing app in Utah, SafeUT.
According to an annual report, 96% of Utah public and charter school districts are enrolled and last April, officials seized a weapon at a school after students used the app to tell authorities.
Fleming’s bill would set up an advisory council to help guide the process and a framework to fund the project in the budget.
Starting with a smaller pilot project, UofL Health Peace Hospital would run the mental health safety center and provide licensed personnel to respond to users of the app, said Liz McKune, the hospital’s vice president and chief operations officer.
“We will be trying this out with a smaller school, a medium-sized school and a large school district in order to determine what the needs and what the interests will be of the students in this particular feature,” she said. “We have plans at this point in time to start with a small core staff that would be available 24/7 for chat with the students.”
The hospital has raised funds to support the project through the first year of implementation, said McKune.
“This is designed as a crisis intervention tool to be used in the moment so that we can access kids when they’re having these thoughts or feelings and get them connected to services,” she said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or a mental health crisis, you are encouraged to call the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline.
To get help, just call or text 988.