Buck Stops Here

Daniel Thatcher Courtesy Photo

A state senator is looking at creating a new hotline that aims to help save Utah students' lives.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, told the Daily Herald on Monday that he is in the early workings of legislation that would create a state-funded hotline to alert officials that a student's life may be in danger through suicide or other means.

"The idea is, basically if you hear a kid talking about suicide or hurting somebody then you call a tip line and somebody looks into it," explained Thatcher.

Thatcher stated that there are already a number of tiplines or phone numbers available for someone to call to report a dangerous situation but observed that none of the current phone numbers are easy to remember. His hope is with the new hotline that it can be a three digit number so someone can easily remember the number and quickly report a questionable situation.

For Utah, the new hotline could make a significant difference for students, especially in suicide cases. According to the Utah Department of Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Utahns among the ages of 10 and 17. If there is an easier way to report a potential suicide situation, more deaths may be prevented.

"The primary focus is 'If you see something, say something,'" he said.

Greg Hudnall, with Hope 4 Utah, a local suicide prevention organization, welcomed the proposal. He noted any support that can be given in suicide preventions is a good thing and will help in the effort to prevent suicides.

"Anything that can help us provide support for our kids is well worth it," said Hudnall.

Thatcher is looking at running the legislation in the 2014 general session, which gets underway in late January.

-- Billy Hesterman covers the Utah State Legislature and local politics for the Daily Herald. You can connect with Billy by email at bhesterman@heraldextra.com or by

Read more from Billy Hesterman here.