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Illinois program urges students to “Seek Help Before Harm”

Students who feel they have no place to turn can use a program that allows them to provide information confidentially.

With Safe2Help, details will be relayed to local school officials and a 9-1-1 call center, depending on the nature of what’s shared.

Samantha Kanish, Safe2Help’s School Safety and Policy Advisor, said the program encourages students to “Seek Help Before Harm”. She said the majority of reports come from students alerting authorities about a friends' safety

“The number one reason students report to Safe2Help is bullying, followed by suicidal ideation as reported by another student. We do see that students care about their friends and they do see concerning behaviors and they want to help,” Kanish said.

It’s also geared to prevent other acts of violence. Safe2Help points out in 85% of mass shootings, someone knew something prior to the event.

She added students are utilizing the program more now that they’re back in the classroom after pandemic closures.

There is always a trusted adult available at Safe2Help 24 hours a day, and the program is accessible in five different ways.

You can find the program’s website at Safe2Help Illinois | Helpline, download the free Safe2Help app, email the program at HELP@Safe2HelpIL.com, call the program at 844-472-3345, or text Safe2 to 72332.

“In addition to that 24/7 helpline, Safe2Help Illinois also offers self-help resources for students on our website, as well as a mental health toolkit for educators,” Kanish said.

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