Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Suicide prevention app to offer easy access to support

A suicide prevention app launched today uses Google maps to pull together local information to provide easier access to helplines and websites.

The free app has been developed by Grasp Life, with support from the Bray Lions Club, and will be officially launched in Dublin.

It is already available from the App Store and pools contact details for organisations such as Aware, Console, Suicide or Survive, and the Cork- based Let’s Get Together.

Anyone using the app on their smart phone can click on three options, reading: “I need help”, “I know someone who needs help”, and “advice”. Using Google Maps to pinpoint the user’s location, the app will reveal local offices and services to users, meaning a call to a helpline is a click away.

Funding for the app was secured by Adam Harris, an 18-year-old student from Greystones in Co Wicklow, who is also the Lions Club Youth Ambassador.

Mr Harris said he has known people who have died by suicide, including a fellow student in his old school.

“It was the idea that there is not a town, community, or village in Ireland that is not affected by mental health problems,” said Mr Harris of the inspiration for the app.

The app provides information for 80 different locations around the country in the form of green dots on the screen map, and is the first such app in Ireland.

“I hope this is phase one,” said Mr Harris.

“I think it could be extended to include information on broader mental health groups such as Al-Anon, or mental health hospitals.”

Grasp Life has said 65% of those who contact the body are under-25. The organisation was set up by Claire McTiernan, who lost her son to suicide. The group hopes to build a facility similar to Pieta House in the West of Ireland.

The app was designed by Michael Pierce, with graphic designer Donal Campbell creating the promotional material.

It can be accessed on the app store by searching for Grasp.


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