Can a Mobile Phone App Help Prevent Suicides?

Safety plans have been suggested as an intervention for people at risk of suicide. Given the impulsive character of suicidal ideation, a safety plan in the format of a mobile phone application is likely to be more available and useful than traditional paper versions. The study recently published in the journal Crisis describes MYPLAN, a mobile phone application designed to support people at risk of suicide by letting them create a safety plan. MYPLAN was developed in collaboration with clinical psychiatric staff at Danish suicide preventive clinics. The mobile application lets the user create an individualized safety plan by filling in templates with strategies, actions, and direct links to contact persons.  MYPLAN was developed in 2013 and is freely available in Denmark and Norway. It is designed for iPhone and Android platforms. As of December 2015, the application has been downloaded almost 8,000 times. Users at risk of suicide as well as clinical staff have provided positive feedback on the mobile application. Support via mobile phone applications might be particularly useful for younger age groups at risk of suicide as well as in areas or countries where support options are lacking. Yet, it is important to examine the effectiveness of this type of intervention.

For the abstract

           

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