Ulster County's Suicide Prevention Smartphone App: Get Help Now!

Posted November 13, 2013

Unique App Designed To Help Users Recognize Warning Signs And Quickly Get Help

The app is the result of a collaboration by members of the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health's Suicide Prevention, Education and Awareness Committee and is yet another tool targeted to provide solutions for “at-risk” groups: young adults/teens, veterans, and adults. 

The free app is an easy to use guide which provides the user with warning signs that correspond with levels of risk and also helps guide the user through what to say to someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and helpful videos.  Additionally, it supplies the user with comprehensive resources that contain local, state, and national contacts, and most importantly, instant call buttons for immediate help that link to local, national, and veteran hotlines. This smartphone app is designed in conjunction with mental health professionals to be a powerful tool in the hands of anyone who may be in a position to prevent tragedy. 

Suicide is a tragedy that impacts families and entire communities.  Suicide prevention, including related violence that harms others, is a priority for the Department of Health and Mental Health and for the agencies it supports. 

“Mental Health Association in Ulster County has been a proud member of the Suicide Prevention, Education and Awareness Committee since its inception and I have personally conducted many of the suicide prevention trainings in the County,” said Ellen Pendegar, CEO of Mental Health Association in Ulster County.  “We know that recognizing the signs of suicide early and getting someone the help they need quickly can buy enough time to help them reconsider the value of life and avoid irreversible harm.  This app is a prevention tool that we can get into many hands, and that is a huge advantage.” 

The statistics regarding suicide are sobering.  It is the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans and approximately 1,300 New Yorkers take their lives each year.  Deaths by suicide now outnumber homicide deaths.  Approximately 150,000 New York teenagers will attempt suicide each year, and 70 will die as a result.  The national rate of teen suicide has tripled since the 1950s and it is now the 3rd leading cause of death for New Yorkers 15-24 years of age.  The number of Veterans who committed suicide in 2012 reached record levels with 18 Veterans dying each day, or once every 65 minutes. 

The app was created and developed by the Health Education Unit of the County Department of Health and Mental Health in partnership with the Mental Health Association in Ulster County, Family of Woodstock’s Crisis Hotline, and other Suicide Prevention, Education, and Awareness Committee members.  A special thanks is extended to HELPGUIDE.org, a non-profit organization in Santa Monica, California for its assistance and generosity in sharing content. 

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