On World Suicide Prevention Day 2014, Grassroots Suicide Prevention launched the UK’s first suicide prevention app, Stay Alive. Grassroots designed and developed the content, with funding support from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Network Rail and the developers, Switchplane.
“I have a safety plan in place. #1 on the list: I will not hurt myself. #depression”
The app is totally free to users and offers help and support both to people with thoughts of suicide and to people concerned about someone else. Most of the content is viewable offline, and parts of the app can be customised by the user to suit their personal needs. Key features include:
“This weekend I found the online support list and the keeping safe for now section helpful and made me feel less lonely. Unlike so many mental health apps yours is not patronising and doesn't claim to 'fix' anyone. No app will ever be able to fix me but yours kept me company during a very long, dark weekend. Thank you for that.”
Grassroots consulted widely on the content of the app, holding local focus groups with young people with mental health problems, LGBTQ adults with mental health problems, and a team of mental health professionals. Grassroots also consulted with the membership of TASC (The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities) and held an online survey with 340 respondents. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust clinicians also reviewed and approved the content.
“Aside from Breathing exercises, grounding techniques and lots of useful tips and contacts, it has a section called 'My Life-box'. Here I can add pictures that remind me of my reasons to stay alive. I uploaded a funny photo of Si, one of my Mum and Dad celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and one of Saagar and I, happy together. This is the next best thing to a friend sitting with me, holding my hand when I am down and out.”
“[The app helped me help someone else to stay alive] by introducing and making clear the option of 'stay safe for now'. This was so helpful for the young person I was working with who felt as if she had no choice other than to try and kill herself given how hopeless she felt.”
“Just downloaded and looked through your Stay Alive app which is excellent (I’m a GP putting together information resources to give out to patients who may be at risk of suicide). It’s really, really good and I’m so impressed, particularly by ability to add photos from camera roll.”
Grassroots’ vision for Stay Alive is that it continues to evolve and be available, free of charge, to as many people as possible.
Grassroots is committed to developing Stay Alive as a truly national app that incorporates local and regional crisis resources for people at risk of suicide.
A license for the app will be marketed to partners across England initially, and then the rest of the UK, so that NHS Trusts, local authorities and others can advertise their local crisis provision to end users in their areas. Greater Manchester Public Health and 2Gether mental health trust are already involved and it is hoped that many others will follow suit and help the app improve crisis care pathways for more and more people with thoughts of suicide. For details contact email@example.com
Grassroots is launching a crowdfunding campaign on World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 to secure funds to help make this the best, most powerful lifesaving app it can be. Priorities include:
In time, there is potential for Stay Alive to be adopted for use in other countries.
Watch this space for a full evaluation of the app!
“I have had the Stay Alive app on my phone for many months, I keep my safety plan updated on it and have read a lot of the content. This has been incredibly helpful for me, but it is in the event of crisis that I have found the app most useful.
A few months ago I found myself in a position where my thoughts of suicide were so strong and prominent, that I needed immediate help to avoid another suicide attempt. In previous moments like this I have not known where to turn for help and have instead begun turning suicide plans into actions.
Fortunately, when I was trying to think if there were options other than suicide open to me, I remembered that I have the app and that it might help. I was able to immediately dial through to a helpline using the crisis resources on the “find help now” section of the app and they were able to support me and keep me safe in the short term, until further help could be reached. They were also able to help friends look after me.
I think perhaps without the app and its ability to help me to find help, strong suicidal thoughts would have become another suicide attempt. I believe that it is a unique resource which I carry with me everywhere I go, which gives it an unbelievable scope to help.”
For a second year, Grassroots will be marching in the Brighton Pride parade. You and your friends are invited to join us. We will meet at 10am on Saturday 6 August at Hove Lawns. Please wear orange and purple clothing if possible. GSP T-shirts will also be available on the morning along with other great accessories. If you are interested in marching with us please let us know in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1769008666677798/
As part of crucial research around the use and impact of our award-winning Stay Alive suicide prevention app, we are looking for feedback from anyone who has ever used the app. Have you used the app with a client or patient? Have you used the app to help a friend? Have you downloaded the app to look up information about suicide? Have you used the app when in crisis? Please take this 10 minute survey and help make Stay Alive even better at helping those at risk of suicide: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2T5RXXT
"Suicide is everyone's business; it devastates so many lives no matter who you are, where you work or where you live. We want to use every method available to us to make Sussex, and beyond, a place where people thinking about suicide are supported and helped in their workplace and their community."