Ripple Suicide Prevention

Alice Hendy tragically lost her brother, Josh, on the 25th November 2020 from suicide. Josh was her only sibling, and sadly passed away too soon at just 21 years of age. 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. After examining Josh’s phone and laptop following his death, Alice found that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life online. The content available following a harmful online search is far too readily available and fails to provide enough of an intervention between a user searching for harmful content and the subsequent display of the search results.

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 Suicide Prevention.

R;pple addresses the lack of intervention and instead provides an immediate, vibrant display on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for online content relating to self-harm or suicide.

R;pple is an online nudge technique which consists of a powerful message of hope, as well as providing a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different communicative options (call, text, webchat, self-help app, pocket resources). 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.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

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R;pple is an online monitoring tool which flags harmful content relating to self-harm and suicide and replaces it in the first instance with a vibrant, bold interception tool containing a message of hope and range of mental health support channels for users in crisis to utilise.

R;pple displays support, a range of mental health helplines and guidance before any comments, videos and forums relating to harmful content are displayed. Through this initiative, a user feeling despair and searching for distressing material online will be urged to instead seek the support they require in order to improve their mental health and live a long and fulfilling life.

Mental health battles can have a ripple effect, extending well beyond the user’s immediate family and friends. How you are affected will depend on your relationship to the person who has passed away, the strength of the attachment and the circumstances around the death.

R;pple aims to provide individuals with mental health struggles with a range of support options in a variety of different communication methods to prevent self-harm and suicide.

What are your current priorities?

Funding – to secure funding to pay for the R;pple monitoring tool and subsequent configuration of key words and phrases relating to harmful content.

Building awareness – creating initial awareness of the R;pple brand with mental health charity partners and businesses through direct contact and social media presence.

Establishing a customer base – securing ‘buy-in’ from search engines online to display the R;pple tool when users search for keywords relating to self-harm or suicide.

Steering committee – to pull together a steering committee of advisory bodies, with representation from law enforcement, MP’s, mental health charities and business.

Local support – to pull together local support in the Hampshire area in the first instance before harnessing support from further afield.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

R;pple is a brand new concept. We require endorsement and support of well-established organisations relating to suicide prevention in order for us to approach the IT industry and gain backing from search engines and web forums to display the R;pple banner on their pages relating to potentially harmful content.