Estimated duration: 2-3 minutes

Salt Lake City — As a freshman or returning student, navigating a new chapter can be overwhelming.

At the University of Utah, mental health first responders are stationed in each residential building, ready to listen and provide support.

“I was a little stressed this morning because it took me too long to start packing,” said Ella Ashcroft, who has just moved into her new living space for the school year.

It’s her second time moving to campus.

“I know I like the people I live with, and having an apartment would be fun,” she said.

“I lived on campus last semester,” Ashcroft said. “It’s definitely a little scary. You never know what’s going to happen.”

She said the unknown can isolate first-timers.

“Especially if you’re from out of state and don’t have anyone you think you can talk to,” Ashcroft said.

Dr. Torrence Wimbish, a licensed mental health provider at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, understands the challenges students face. He serves as a mental health first responder (MH1) supervisor.

“They will have to live on a large campus,” Wimbish said. “Navigate when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep and how to study.”

Students who live on campus can rely on his team when they are having a hard time.

“We see students with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and thoughts of self-harm,” Wimbish said.

Students seeking help after hours or off campus may not get help immediately and this is where MH1 can intervene.

“It’s convenient. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8:00 or 9:00. You can call the crisis line or the Safe UT app or if you’re a student on this campus.” I’ll see you,” Wimbish said.

Wimbish added that it’s important to recognize when students need help.

“If you notice a pattern of more sad days than usual, or more anxious days than usual, it could be a sign,” he said.

Students can take time to recharge by talking to counselors and friends.

Ashcroft’s homesickness didn’t last long if you change your mind.

“I’m here. I’m very, very excited,” she said. “Good luck! Meet new people. Have fun. Don’t hold back.”

MH1 is a free service for students living on U campuses. Students can also access the SafeUT app anytime.

suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 988 and connect with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. /p>

crisis hotline

  • Huntsman Mental Health Institute Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • SafeUT Crisis Line: 833-372-3388
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ Teenagers: 1-866-488-7386

online resources

signs of suicide

  • story of wanting to die
  • looking for a way to kill yourself
  • talk about hopelessness and aimlessness
  • talk about feeling trapped and excruciating pain
  • talk about being a burden to others
  • increase alcohol or drug use
  • Anxiety, agitation, or reckless behavior
  • too little sleep or too much sleep
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • express anger or talk about revenge
  • exhibit extreme mood swings

The more of these signs a person exhibits, the higher the risk. Red flags are associated with suicide but may not cause suicide.

Information from the American Suicide Prevention Foundation.

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