Experience of north east shows Royal Foundation is right to focus on digital tools

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Choose Life Steering Group has welcomed an announcement by the Royal Foundation that it is to fund an Innovation Unit for developing new digital tools, to help people discuss mental health and access support.

The Steering Group decided to focus on digital and online resources in 2016 after seeing a significant increase in the number of people researching suicide on the internet and an alarming rise in female suicides.

The introduction of a Suicide Prevention app, a dedicated Facebook page and investment in Google Adwords coincided with a 29% decrease in suicides across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire during 2016 and a further reduction in 2017.

Iain Murray Choose Life co-ordinator for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is one of a number of people who work in mental health sector in the UK. who has been invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace on World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10th October)

Ahead of the reception Iain said it was a privilege to represent those who work in suicide prevention in the North East of Scotland at this event:  “The more people in the public eye speak about mental health, the more we can break down barriers and get rid of the stigma which still exists. The Royal Foundation’s focus on digital and online support is hugely significant. As we have seen in the North East of Scotland it is an important way of reaching people who are reluctant to access mental health services.

“The Suicide Prevention App we launched in March 2016 has been accessed more than 22,000 times, which shows there is a real need for this in our area and I am sure across the country.

“Another alarming trend was the number of people who were researching online, ways to kill themselves. Investing in Google Adwords means that if someone uses one of a number of phrases in a google search they will be signposted to help. Finally a Facebook page with a targeted advert aimed at females in the area has also helped reach people in need of support.”

NHS Grampian Health Board area saw the biggest decrease in suicides of any health board in Scotland last year. 

The Prevent Suicide North East Scotland App can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play, Amazon and Microsoft store. Just search for Prevent Suicide - North East Scotland. Alternatively you can access the accompanying website at www.preventsuicideapp.com