R;pple - suicide prevention technology
Alice Hendy lost her brother Josh, on 25th November 2020 to suicide at 21 years old.
As you would expect, Josh's death devastated his family. He had not given any indication of his intent and the family only became aware when police knocked on the door to say they had found Josh.
It turned out that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life via harmful internet searches. The content available online following a search of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format: a helpline.
In order to prevent more suicides, Alice set up R;pple Suicide Prevention to ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online. Their goal is simple and with support from parents, education establishments, businesses and charities, it is achievable:
To intercept harmful content relating to self-harm and/or suicide through innovative technology.
To ensure all users searching for harmful content online are presented with an opportunity of hope that things can and will get better.
To ensure immediate mental health support and resources are presented to individuals following a harmful online search.
In other words, discretely intercepting harmful searches and providing signposting to 24/7, free mental health support at a time when a person are most vulnerable.
On 10th September 2021, World Suicide Day, R;pple launched an interceptive tool, a browser extension, designed to present a visual prompt when a person searches for harmful keywords or phrases relating to the topic of self-harm or suicide. These phrases include any words or terminology which have been identified as displaying potentially damaging online content.
At the moment this is only available on MS Edge and Google Crome. Firefox and other browsers are coming soon. At some point it will be available for smartphones, etc. It has been developed by volunteer staff - 75% of whom have experienced a family suicide.
The technology can be downloaded from their website. It is free for parents, education institutions and charities. Businesses need to pay a subscription and this funds further development.
Here are some statistics for the UK. There are:
1.2m internet searches ways to take your own life every month.
5,691 suicides in England and Wales in 2019.
26% deaths attributed to suicide-related internet use in under 20s and 13% of deaths in 20-24 year-olds.
On average, over 5 young people take their lives each day.
Every 90 minutes in the UK, a life is lost to suicide.
Three quarters of young people under the age of 35 who took their own lives in 2018 were boys or young men.
93% rise in female under 25 suicide rates since 2012.
Since R;pples' launch, there have been 400+ intercepts of suicide searches and 22 lives saved (self-reported by those searching for information - this could be more).
Why not install on your organisation's computers? It would demonstrate your belief in the importance of mental health and may save lives.
You can find more details here.
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Geoff Knott, 26/04/2022