A browser plug-in that prompts an automatic pop-up when users search for information on self-harm or taking their own life is launched in the UK today (10 September) - World Suicide Prevention Day.
The brainchild of Alice Hendy, who in 2020 lost her brother, Josh, to suicide when he was just 21, the new tool is called R;pple and Jisc is urging all colleges and universities to make use of it.
Free to download and available now, R;pple provides support and resources for people suffering poor mental health and feeling hopeless.
The pop-up comprises a message of hope and signposts to a range of free support resources such as helplines, text services and webchats that are available 24/7 from mental health charities.
Explaining the concept, which relates to her own experience, Alice said:
“It's called R;pple because, on average, 135 people are impacted every time somebody takes their own life (ONS).The ripple-effect is extensive, as my family and Josh’s wider circle know only too well.
“I want to help ensure individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and searching for self-harmful content online are offered hope and options for support when they need it.”
Jisc CEO, Paul Feldman, said:
“The mental health of many students and staff is a priority for our members and, while there’s no substitute for the human touch, technology can have role to play.
“This tool, which can be quickly installed en masse across an institutions’ devices, could form an important part of education providers’ wellbeing strategies.As it’s free, it’s really a no-brainer.”
The tool has already been taken up by high-profile organisations including technology giant, CISCO, Barclays Bank and Network Rail as a means of providing staff with mental health signposting, should they need it.
R;pple is available to download now as an extension for Google Chrome with FireFox, Microsoft Edge, Opera and Safari to follow soon.
Alice also plans to roll out the technology as a parental control option.
More information about R;pple can be found at www.ripplesuicideprevention.com