(Disclaimer: Apps cannot replace professional help and support for those struggling with thoughts of suicide. If you are concerned someone is in danger or at an increased risk of suicide, reach out for professional help immediately and notify the child’s parent or guardian.)
The kids of today have access to thousands of apps at the touch of their fingers. The increase in technology usage has allowed students to access infinite amounts of information. As a result, students struggling with suicidal ideation and mental health concerns to have access to resources at the click of the button. We can utilize technology to give our students the tools needed to recognize when they may be a harm to themselves and how to get help. Below are a few apps that may be helpful for students in a potential time of crisis.
No app can replace reaching out to a licensed medical professional; however, these apps may help a student to start that process.
For Those At Risk for Self Harm or Suicide
MY3 (Android, iOS)
MY3 has users create a network of three loved ones. They can connect with these people when they are feeling upset or need someone to talk to. This app helps you to create a safety plan. It allows users to identify warning signs, triggers, and identify coping strategies. They outline a support network the user can utilize. The hope is that the user will be able to recognize a warning sign. They then will reach out to one of the three people in their support network for assistance.
Stay Alive (Android, iOS)
This is designed for people who have been thinking of committing suicide. It helps users to create a safety plan with action steps. Users identify people and places that calm them. It includes a “LifeBox” feature. Users can fill their box with inspirational quotes/pictures. They can also include breathing exercises and grounding techniques to reference as needed. There is also quite an extensive databank of knowledge for concerned friends and family members. They can use this help educate themselves and find resources.
Operation Reach Out (iOS)
This app is designed for veterans and their families. It provides access to video vignettes offering suicide counseling and helpful do’s and don’ts when reaching out to a loved one you feel is contemplating suicide. It also includes links to help center and hotlines. Users or family members can contact these for additional help and resources.
Suicide Prevention App (iOS)
This app includes a step-by-step guide that walks the user through a suicide safety assessment. Once users complete the assessment, the app identifies current safety and protective factors. It creates a wellness scale that helps users identify areas of concern in real-time that includes next steps the user should take. Users receive an immediate response plan based on those safety concerns that are identified.
Warning Signs and Suicide Prevention Apps
Jason Foundation: A Friend Asks (Android, iOS)
This app teaches the user what signs and symptoms to be aware of to help identify someone who may potentially attempt suicide and how to reach out for assistance. This app provides a list of warning signs/symptoms, the do’s and don’ts for how to handle such a sensitive situation and access to resources that can be utilized for support.
ASK & Prevent Suicide (Android, iOS)
Much like “A Friend Asks,” this app has a list of warning signs of a person who may be contemplating suicide. This app also has advice on how to intervene and access help for someone you are concerned about. One feature of this app that is extremely useful is the quick dial function that effortlessly connects you with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Suicide Crisis Support (Android)
This app is designed for the loved ones of those who struggle with suicidal thoughts or tendencies. This app is basically an electronic version of the booklet, “The Tender Leaves of Hope, Helping Someone Survive a Suicide Crisis.” This booklet and app were designed to help the loved ones of those who are at risk of being a harm to themselves better understand the mindset and driving factors behind their suicidal idealizations.
Ulster County SPEAK (Android, iOS)
Is another great app that helps to outline suicide warning signs and helps guide users on how to have difficult conversations with those they believe are struggling or need mental health supports. It includes a guide of what to say and what to avoid when attempting to speak with a suicidal loved one with your concerns. It also includes various hotlines and prevention resources for users.
Grounding and Calming Strategies
Positive Activity Jackpot
This app connects users with enjoyable activities in the area. The purpose is for people to connect as they engage in a peaceful distraction.
This meditation app helps teach users ways to calm their body and ease their mind.
This app utilizes games and activities to help people improve their mood.
Breathe to Relax
This app helps the user build breathing skills they can use when they need to relax and calm the mind and body.
This app contains an assessment tool that helps users identify feelings of depression or post-traumatic stress.
Other Helpful Suicide Prevention Sources
Lifeline Chat, 24/7 web chat support service, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Best Practices
Again, nothing can replace a licensed medical professional. The hope is that by giving our young ones access to information, they will use the tools and reach out for help when needed.