Stigma, Suicide & the StayAlive App: Lauren’s story

The StayAlive app is a pocket suicide prevention resource that is filled with useful information and tools to help you stay safe. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

In addition to the resources, the app can be something to turn to when looking for reminders to keep going. It includes a safety plan, customisable reasons for living, and a LifeBox where you can store photos that are important to you.

Lauren is a StayAlive user who used the app to help her in a critical time, you can read about her experience below:

In April 2020, one month into the first lockdown, I was in a suicidal crisis. I reached out to someone for support, and they recommended the StayAlive app to me. I’m incredibly fortunate they did.

StayAlive is incredible. It helped keep me alive when I was at my lowest. The ‘LifeBox’ is the best bit for me. Being passively suicidal, seeing photos of my friends and things I’ve achieved reminds me why I want to be here – it reminds me to stay alive.

“It should be normal to use apps like StayAlive. It’s like falling over – there’s no shame in needing a hand back up.”

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve used StayAlive a few times in the past year. It should be normal to use apps like StayAlive. It’s like falling over – there’s no shame in needing a hand back up.

For whatever reason, before someone recommended it to me, I hadn’t heard about StayAlive. Maybe I’d tuned it out because of self-stigma; I never thought I’d need something like that.

Lauren’s LifeBox

Other than a few people, I haven’t really spoken to anyone about having or using a suicide prevention app. I find those sorts of conversations difficult, which I think again is down to stigma. Even with my lived experience, I’m always conscious of the negative reaction I might get, and judgement from even my friends or family.

“Talking to someone about suicidal thoughts can be tricky, The StayAlive app is potentially a good way to start that conversation.”

This is a shame, because I think StayAlive should get listed as a key resource for people, alongside lifesaving services like the HopeLine (Papyrus) or Shout.

As a Time to Change York Champion, I work hard to end the stigma around all mental illnesses. I also have lived experience of suicide and have done suicide prevention training.

So, I understand that talking to someone about suicidal thoughts can be tricky. The StayAlive app is potentially a good way to start that conversation.

Breaking stigma is a slow process, but we are heading in the right direction. To prevent suicide, we must end the shame and stigma around being mentally unwell. This will help people feel safe – like it did me.

If you need the support, or would like to offer that support someone else, you can download the app as a resource to turn to whenever you may need it.

Download the StayAlive app: