UK-based mental health provider Mersey Care NHS Trust has teamed-up with Stanford University to develop an app that prevents suicides, BBC is reporting.
The application is designed to work in the background to monitor user’s communications — including social media accounts, emails and phone calls — to help track those that are at risk of committing suicide. In addition, it also relies on the phone’s built-in GPS to track one’s whereabouts, prompting alerts when he/she visits a location where people often commit suicide or when an important appointment is missed.
Stanford and Mersey Care expect to have a prototype app ready by June and launch for patients by January 2017.
“This is an opportunity to exploit technology in a way we’ve never been able to before in health, by providing very powerful, decision-making, statistical support to clinicians in real time for the people who are most at risk,” Mersey Care Medical Director Dr. David Fearnley told BBC.
This, of course, is not the first time mHealth is used to prevent suicides. Last year, we’ve seen a few such efforts, including the dedicated Suicide Safe app launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Facebook’s set of tools developed in partnership with mental health organizations such as Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org.