Editor's note: This story touches on the topic of suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 24/7, visit Colorado Crisis Services, for a list of resources in Colorado.
DENVER – Safe2Tell, the state’s anonymous safety concern reporting platform, reported its “highest ever” number of tips since the program began nearly 20 years ago.
The program’s annual report for the 2022-2023 school year, released Monday, showed those using the platform made a total of 22,486 reports during the period from Aug. 1, 2022, through July 21, 2023 – a 16% increase from the year prior, making it the “highest ever report volume since its inception in 2004,” according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, which has been managing the program since 2014.
Despite teen suicide rates falling to their lowest level since 2014 in Colorado, suicide threats remained the most frequently reported category with 2,840 reports – or 13% of the whole – made throughout the 2022-2023 school year.
Other top report categories included bullying (1,992), school complaints (1,858), drugs (1,473), and threats (1,062), which together accounted for 42% of all reports.
"Increasing reports in the categories of depression, suicide, and self-harm continue to be a pressing issue, and it underscores the importance of early intervention and support for youth mental health,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in a prepared statement. “Safe2Tell’s focus remains on being a safe place to share concerns that result in better outcomes for our kids.”
In all, 140 people concerned about their own mental health made a report through Safe2Tell, according to a spokesperson from the AG’s office, which said Safe2Tell offered all who called the option to connect with Colorado Crisis Services, and report analysts transferred six, an additional 52 received counseling services, and 7 resulted in holds or hospitalization.
Of the total number of reports received during the 2022-2023 school year, just below 3% of them were false, meaning they contained untrue information and were submitted to the program “with the intent to harm, injury, or bully another person.”
The report from Safe2Tell also made several recommendations to improve the program, including:
- Increase virtual, on-demand, and asynchronous training options for school teams and law enforcement agencies on Safe2Tell best practices, identifying the differences between unfounded and false reports, using the Safe2Tell digital platform, and educating students on the proper use of the program.
- Minimize instances of false reporting and misuse of the program by educating students, school teams, and school districts on the proper use of the program and best practices for cultivating a healthy Safe2Tell culture.
- Improve training for report recipients to distinguish between "false" and "unfounded" report designations.
To make a report, individuals can call 1-877-542-7233 from anywhere, at any time. Reports also can be made at Safe2Tell.org, by texting S2TCO to 738477, or through the Safe2Tell mobile app which is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play.