Are Suicide Prevention Apps Effective?
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jun 01, 2016
Suicide is a leading cause of death across the world, and one of the most tragic. In some parts of the world– like Greenland – suicide rates are so high that nearly everyone can truthfully say that they know someone who has been lost to the terrible act. In order to combat suicides, suicide prevention hotlines have been created, and more efforts to get people the psychological help that they need in times of depression have been made.
In addition to the above, there has also been new emphasis placed on suicide prevention mobile applications. The apps provide suicide prevention tips for users, provide safety plans to minimize suicide risk, and referrals to suicide and crisis hotlines.
But whether or not these suicide prevention apps are effective is unknown. The following explores concerns with suicide prevention apps:
The Concerns with Suicide Prevention Apps
There were two major concerns found in a study that considered the effectiveness of 123 suicide prevention apps, according to an article in Philly.com. First, about a quarter of the apps instructed people to seek help from a friend or peer, rather than from a suicide prevention hotline, a physician, or a therapist.
The other biggest concern was that two of the apps actually named methods of committing suicide. While the intention was to defer potentially suicidal individuals from committing the act, the apps may also provide users with ideas for how to commit suicide.
Other concerns include the fact that there is little information available that can be used to deduce what features of the apps are actually effective and which are not. Further, a problem with the apps is that users must not only download them, but then choose to use them at moments they are feeling suicidal. Because those who are feeling suicidal are often barred from being able to think rationally, the apps may not be worthwhile.
It is important to note that the study focused on apps that are available in Australia; it is unknown whether or not the same apps in the study are available in other countries, including the U.S.
The Importance of Effectively Combating Suicide
Whether the designer of an app or a doctor, understanding effective methods to suicide prevention and intervention is critical.
At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. our attorneys are dedicated to making sure that all products are safe. If you believe that your loved one’s suicide could have been prevented but for the negligence of another party, we may be able to help you recover financial compensation for your losses. To learn more, contact our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free case consultation. We promise to work hard on your behalf to help you and your family recoup the damages you deserve.