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Utah Unveils New Online Tool for Assessing Mental Health

October 9, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - The recent mass shooting in Oregon again has focused national attention on untreated mental-health issues. Now, Utah is doing something about the problem.

The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health unveiled a new anonymous online screening tool on Thursday so people can answer a few survey questions and learn more about mental disorders and addiction.

"It's totally free, totally confidential. We do not know who takes that at all," said Jeff Marrott, a spokesman for the division. "What it does is, it gives them some idea of where they fit into the continuum of behavioral-health issues."

The survey then connects the person with the appropriate agency or program so he or she actually can get help. Marrott said he hopes the the fact that it's online and anonymous will reach people who previously have been hard to find.

"The problem is, many of these people do not get treatment, they don't seek services," he said. "They just suffer in silence, and we want to end that. Even if they're not willing to talk about it and ask for help, they can still get the help they need."

Statistics show that 25 percent of Americans have a significant mental-health issue at any given time - and half of the population will experience one in their lifetime.

The screening tool on the website of the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is at screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/stateofutah. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - UT