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Blog: R:pple Suicide Prevention monitoring tool launched


Clare Dickens – Academic Lead for Mental Health at the University of Wolverhampton and Wellbeing and Chair of Wolverhampton’s Suicide Prevention Stakeholder Forum - blogs on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2021)

As we embark on World Suicide Prevention Day, 2021, I am reminded of just how multi-faceted efforts within suicide prevention often have to be. For thoughts and distress that can be so complex, no one single thing can be considered the key to tipping us back to a point of safety. However, kindness and a commitment to listen are good starting points, which I do not underestimate can be difficult in the busyness of our lives, the stresses and pain we navigate ourselves, and this is without the fear and stigma surrounding such a complex topic.


I have held a specialist interest in suicide as a topic for over 20 years now, I have tried to and continue to endeavour to explore and gain new understandings from a variety of historical, cultural, philosophical and ethical gazes - it’s a quest I hope never stops, hence I would never consider myself an “expert”. There are some key names in the academia, practice and campaigning spaces, and I read, listen to and observe their work with keen interest and admiration. However, I am acutely aware of the other voices that sometimes are not heard, the voices that come with living experience, pain, hope; and who can give us the rich insight we need in order to improve what we do in the hope of saving lives and supporting those who are left behind.

I am beyond fortunate and humbled to meet many of them every year; there is not a text book, or academic article that can compare to these discussions. One such living experience voice I have had the privilege to spend time listening to in recent months, is that of Alice Hendy. I want to use the platform I have today to promote her work in the hope of supporting her to cascade it as far as possible, and share her story that underpins her truly remarkable efforts in the last few months.

In November 2020, Alice’s brother Josh tragically died by suicide, he was 21. Josh’s struggles only too vividly highlight the need for an inclusive and wide-ranging view of what is needed in order to contribute towards suicide prevention. Alice learned after her brother’s death 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. Though this is “something” we cannot assume that everyone seeing this option will be able to use it. Communication difficulties, feeling that “talking” is just too exhausting, fear of the response, or that it just isn’t what they feel they need at that point; can all contribute to someone feeling they cannot simply “talk” or pick up the phone at that point.

To ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online, Alice set up R;pple Suicide Prevention. R;pple provides an immediate, vibrant display on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for online content relating to self-harm or suicide.  R;pple consists of a powerful message of hope as well as providing a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different communication options (call, text, webchat) from one of R;pple’s charity partners. It’s a simple to use extension (also known as a ‘Plug-in’ or ‘Add-on’) that does not collect data, therefore is completely private and secure.

Through R;pple, an individual feeling despair and researching harmful content will be urged to instead seek the mental health support they deserve and need in a way that works best for them.

Alice is launching the tool on World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, only months in to navigating bereavement like no other. I have the utmost admiration and respect for her and so many others who are taking what is an unbearable pain and forging it into a commitment to try and prevent others from experiencing it.

Anyone who has spent any time with me talking about suicide prevention knows my view on safety planning. I am of the passionate view that everyone should have one, in the event they ever need to use it and to better ensure they have a pre-considered plan of how to survive such thoughts, with the absolute knowledge that that they matter and the intensity of them will pass. Today, I would encourage anyone reading this blog to take a look at the tool and download it to their devices, encouraging others to do so too, as a bolster to their own safety plan.

Please click on the hyperlink below to watch the instruction video.

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