R;ipple will be exhibiting at The BIBA Conference for the very first time this year. Please read more below on how you can support this extremely worthwhile charity set up by Alice Hendy and utilise Life Saving Tech to Prevent Suicide
The Lived Experience
Alice Hendy tragically lost her brother, Josh, on the 25th November 2020 from suicide. Josh was her only sibling and was 21 years of age.
After examining Josh’s phone and laptop following his death, Alice found that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life via internet searches, suicide forums and video tutorials.
- There are 1.2 million internet searches for ways to take your own life every month (Suicide Forum)
- Searches for suicide methods have increased by 50% in the last 2 years (Semrush)
- Searches for suicidal thoughts have increased by 23% in the last 2 years (Semrush)
- Searches for suicide hotlines have increased by 125% since January 2019 (Semrush)
The content available online following a search of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format: a helpline.
Alice’s day job involves working in IT and Cyber Security, with experience in working for global financial institutions and insurance firms in the city of London.
To ensure more help and support is given to individuals in mental health crisis and searching for harmful content online, Alice set up R;pple to provide people with a voice, choice, empowerment, and control at a time when they are most vulnerable.
Read this insightful interview with Alice below
How did your interest in this area start?
My interest in the field of mental health and suicide prevention came about from my deeply personal experience of losing my only sibling, my brother Josh, on 25th November 2020 to suicide at 21 years of age. After examining Josh’s phone, I found that he had been researching techniques to take his own life via harmful internet searches. The content available online following a search of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format; a helpline.
Mental health is a serious and urgent issue. Online searches for suicide methods have increased by 50% in the last 2 years with searches for suicide support lines also up by 150% since January 2019. (Semrush, 2021)
To ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online, I set up R;pple Suicide Prevention. R;pple is a browser extension interceptive tool designed to ensure more help and support is provided to individuals who are conducting searches relating to self-harm or suicide. R;pple consists of a message of hope as well as a selection of mental health resources in a range of different options (call, text, webchat) from free, established and 24/7 charity services.
How did you build up your skills?
When I lost Josh, I became obsessed with learning as much as I possibly could around the topic of mental health and suicide to understand my brother’s actions. I have spent a lot of time over the last 12 months connecting with others who have been bereaved by suicide, as well as mental health clinicians and professionals to guide me on this very difficult subject. I already possessed the skills from a technology perspective, so my learning has really all come down to my understanding of mental health.
What has been the highlight so far?
- To date, R;pple has been downloaded over 135,000 times in a matter of weeks, with schools, colleges, universities, parents, carers and charities able to download R;pple, free of charge (fee required from businesses)
- 22 external individuals have approached R;pple to inform us that the tool intercepting them online at their most vulnerable point has saved their life and that they are now receiving mental health support.
- R;pple has been shortlisted, or won over 8 awards in the mental health space, after only officially launching in September 2021.
How has the experience changed you?
My life changed forever on the day I lost my brother. I now struggle with my own mental health as I navigate through my grief. Josh has left a huge void in my life and R;pple has now become my passion and purpose in life to prevent this tragedy from happening to any other families.
What’s your next challenge?
R;pple is currently available to download on Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Opera. Our next challenge is to ensure R;pple is available on Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera browsers as well as ensuring the technology is compatible on mobile and tablet devices. We also plan to roll out R;pple globally, with country specific options to reach a higher volume of people who might be struggling across the globe.
Any crossover between this activity and your insurance day job?
My day job involves working for QBE Insurance. Since I launched R;pple, QBE have successfully deployed the technology across over 4,500 of their UK staff machines, ensuring an additional layer of mental health protection is present for any colleagues who might be struggling with their mental health. I am actively looking to work with as many other insurers as possible to deploy R;pple. You never know who might need this intervention.
What is R;pple?
R;pple is an intervention tool when someone searches for harmful online content, rather than just a phone number. It provides an immediate interception on a user’s device once they have been flagged, consisting of a powerful message of hope and a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different communication options (call, text, webchat, self-help app, and pocket resources).
The reasons why people choose suicide are often complex, and people must take practical actions to end their own lives. If suicide is a practical act, then we need practical solutions to prevent it from happening; R;pple is a vital and practical tool which achieves that aim. In a moment of crisis, anything that offers hope or an alternative to someone considering suicide must be considered very seriously.
R;pple has been created with evidence and research in mind at every stage. To develop the content of the message and select the resources that feature on the R;pple tool, the team worked in collaboration with mental health clinicians, professionals, NHS representatives, lived experience panels and the public.
When will R;pple be available?
R;pple launched as a ‘browser extension’ 10th September (World Suicide Prevention Day) and is available to download onto your laptop or desktop now.
Through R;pple, an individual feeling despair and researching harmful content will be urged to instead seek mental health support they deserve and need in a way that works best for them.
- To date, R;pple has been downloaded over 135,000 times in a matter of weeks, with schools, colleges, universities, parents, carers and charities able to download R;pple, free of charge (charitable donation required from businesses)
- 22 individuals have approached R;pple to inform us that the tool intercepting them online at their most vulnerable point has saved their life and that they are now receiving mental health support.
- R;pple has been shortlisted for 8 awards in the IT, technology and mental health space, after only officially launching in September 2021.
- R;pple has gained significant UK media coverage, reaching over 8.5 million people and appearing on national television, radio and press.
How can I download R;pple?
R;pple is available to download onto your laptop or desktop as a ‘browser extension’. This can be done as an individual or as an organisation by installing the extension on all managed devices within your workspace.
- The tool can be downloaded on Google Chrome here.
- The tool can be downloaded on Microsoft Edge here.
- A video demo on how to download R;pple is found here.
How you can Support R;pple
As a newly formed charitable organisation, you can support R;pple in the following ways:
- Promote R;pple to your local schools, colleges, universities, parents and individuals to download R;pple for free
- Integrate R;pple within your organisation and contribute to lifesaving development of the R;pple technlogy by liasing with your wellbeing, HR and IT teams (charitable subscription fee required, bespoke rates available)
- Incorporate R;pple in any internal and external communications and marketing (including social media promotion where possible)
- Introduce R;pple to any mental health/wellbeing partnerships you have in place
How can I keep informed about R;pple?
Support R;pple by following their journey on social media and registering for their monthly subscription.