Preventing suicide in diverse communities
A new suicide prevention app has the potential to save lives in multicultural communities, its creators say.
The ‘Prevent a Suicide: What to say’ app produced by the Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation (ASPF) will have a translation function to help people from non-English speaking communities to help prevent suicides.
The free app has a bank of medically approved text messages which family and friends can download with one click and send to a suicidal person as texts or WhatsApp messages.
The ASPF says this overcomes the problem of most people being afraid to say the wrong thing, when suicide is mentioned. This text safety net mobilising family and friends to step in is an Australian world first initiative.
It has been sent to every federal and state member of parliament through their electorate offices leading up to World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday September 10.
Clinical Associate Professor David Horgan, the founder of the Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation, said the ‘Prevent a Suicide: What to say’ program is aimed at giving the community a safety net to immediately wrap around anyone close to them who mentions suicide, so that the person’s safety can become a shared effort involving both the community and professionals.
“Empowering family and friends to become actively involved by sending frequent, meaningful, and specifically directed texts can prevent suicidal thoughts from becoming suicide attempts,” Prof Horgan said.
He said each suicide, on average, will directly affect more than 130 friends and family members.
“All our messages are medically approved and peer supported texts that you can send, and edit if you wish, to suit your situation,” Prof Horgan said.
“The App is privacy focused and does not collect or store any personal information and there is no sign-up process. Just download the App for free and you’re ready to use it. The App is also ideal for repeated use as suicidal ideas typically last days to weeks.”
“It is much harder to proceed to attempt suicide when the most significant people in one’s life are sending supportive, emotive and helpful texts”.
Professor Horgan said the app was based on the suicide prevention website: www.InToughTimesText.org.au and is a world-first, free community asset which is easily accessed and can be used at any time to help family and friends faced with the risk of self-harm or suicide in someone close to them.
The website and app are available 24/7. No training is required. There are no signups.
Suicide and attempted suicide are the most common causes of death and injury between the ages of 15 and 49 for males or females in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
And more than three million Australians have had serious thoughts of suicide and more than one million have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
Visit the website here: www.InToughTimesText.org.au and is very easy to use.
Find out more here: https://intoughtimestext.org/help-when-its-critical/