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.
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.
Key successes and achievements:
- Over 100,000 total downloads
- Winner of a
nationalPatient Safety Award for Using Technology and IT to improve Patient Safety
- Winner of an Innovation Award from the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups
- National media attention including a small piece in The Times, an article on the BBC website, features in the Metro newspaper and a piece on BBC South East
- Called ‘the world’s best suicide prevention app’ by the well-known @unsuicide Twitter account
- Included as a National Inspiration on the Crisis Care Concordat website
“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.”Dr Helen Ashdown GP, May 2016
Suicide Prevention Digital Initiative
We are licensing areas around the UK to promote their crisis resources within the ‘Local Crisis Support’ section of the app directly to those who need it.
Direct promotion of suicide prevention resources to those vulnerable – area specific, targeted audiences. No download limit, branding options and publicity through Grassroots networks.
Using Google Analytics we can provide real time data on crisis pages used within the app alongside other data.
Stay Alive Early Adopters
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
The app received clinical sign-off pre-launch from Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust.
“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.”Emma Wadey, Executive Director of Nursing and Patient Experience
How has it been used so far?
- The app is in included in care plans when leaving A&E and for signposting during out-of-hours.
- It is being promoted in hospitals and GP surgeries across Sussex, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire.
- It has contributed to strategic suicide prevention plans across the country. Other counties in England involved are Leicestershire and Greater Manchester.
- A wide range of mental health practitioners (both clinical and non-clinical) and therapists are using the app in and/or between sessions with their patients and clients.
2gether NHS Trust
“We’re very pleased to be licensing Stay Alive for people in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The app has received excellent feedback in the areas it has already been used, and we believe it offers and excellent source of advice and information for people who may have thoughts of suicide, and those who support and care for them. The content is completely free and is available online and offline, so is always there for the user, whenever they are feeling vulnerable.”Sally Ashton, Clinical Continuous Improvement Lead explains why the Trust is licensing the app
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
“We have seen the app and recognised it is a brilliant and innovative way of supporting people to stay safe. We are delighted that we have now adapted it for the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We will be launching it for the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in September 2017, and encouraging as many people as possible to download it and use it. We also have a paper-based version of the personal safety plan for people who do not have access to the technology. We think this will make a positive difference to many people in our communities keeping them safer.”Kathy Feltham, Lead Nurse MHSOP, Community Health Services Division
“The app guides gives general advice about why someone who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts should choose to stay safe instead of taking their own life. It also guides them through making a personal safety plan by prompting them to think about how they will calm themselves, where they can go to stay safe, who they should talk to, and who to seek help from. They can even include photographs to remind them of reasons to stay safe. We will encourage them to complete this plan when they feel able to plan for the future, and then to refer to it at times of crisis. It will be confidential, and will not be shared with anyone else. The app contains information which will also be useful to those concerned about a friend, relative or client. One of the key messages is to talk about what is on the person’s mind – asking them whether they are thinking of suicide can feel difficult but is likely to be helpful.”Satheesh Kumar, Medical Director
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
“There is a growing awareness and evidence of the need for Safety Plans as a response to suicidal thoughts. These ideally are created from the person’s own ideas on what may be of help for them to manage these thoughts, and what to do if they escalate. Being able to personalise their own words may be more influential, especially if they become distressed. The Safety Plan needs to be easily accessible, easy to understand, and able to be modified. The Safety Plan within the Stay Alive app allows all of the above to happen. It is simple and easy to create, and the person at risk is also able to co-create their Safety Plan with someone they trust. Being an app allows it to be always with the person or close by, facilitates sharing with others, while ultimately remaining managed by the person themselves.Keith Waters, Honorary Research Fellow (Self-Harm/Suicide Prevention) & Director of Centre for Self Harm and Suicide prevention, Centre for Research and Development, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
“However, the Stay Alive app is more than just a Safety Plan. It is a very helpful resource, information repository, and directory, that is not only of help for the individual at risk of suicide but also for friends, relatives and carers. The national contacts and supports are valuable, but an additional strength is the app’s facility to be adapted so as to include local supports. If an area encouraged agencies, providers and communities to use the Stay Alive app it could promote a continuity and consistency of approach across a whole community in its response to suicide prevention. This could apply to GPs, mental health services, as well as voluntary and non-statutory services in a locality.”
A life saving story…
“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.”Brighton resident
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find more about our Stay Alive License Partners programme.