NEWSROOM  >   Latest News  -   Stories   -   Sponsors News

BeyondNow: How a digital app is transforming crisis support

  • By hello
  • 24 Oct, 2016

Most people who think about or attempt suicide don’t actually want to die – they want their distress and emotional pain to stop. And at these moments, finding the help they so desperately need can feel impossible.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal 3,027 Australians took their own lives in 2015 – that represents two and a half times the national road toll.

And for every person who dies by suicide, 20 more make an attempt.

That’s why  beyondblue Monash University  and the  Movember Foundation  teamed-up to develop the  BeyondNow app  and website, ensuring help is at the fingertips of people who are at risk of suicide.

Most suicidal crises do not play-out in front of a mental health professional, so it’s vital that support is available anywhere, anytime.

The free app helps people create a structured plan – ideally with support from a health professional or someone they trust such as a family member or friend – that they can work through when experiencing suicidal thoughts, emotional distress or crisis. When needed, the plan can be easily accessed via a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Dr Glenn Melvin, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, was involved in the app’s development.

“Many people who experience suicidal thoughts and behaviours aren’t engaging with mental health services. We believe the app might encourage them to start thinking about ways to access help if they experience a suicidal crisis,” he said.  

Dr Melvin believes the BeyondNow app is effective because all the vital information is in one place. And it has been downloaded more than 18,000 times since it was added to Apple and Google app stores in May, 2016.

“We consulted with people with lived experience of suicide and clinicians prior to developing the app,” he explained.

“People wanted a personalised plan, they wanted it to be as simple as possible. We were told that when someone’s reaching crisis point, it’s harder to think straight, so having an app that helps people access their coping strategies, reminds them of their reasons to live and connects them with crisis services is important.

“We also learned that people wanted to connect with others - including family and friends – something we’ve incorporated in to the app,” Dr Melvin said. This shows the strong link between the R U OK? message and BeyondNow.

And simply talking about the app starts vital conversations on the difficult topic of suicide.

“The app also allows you to share the plan with others which sends a message that the plan, and supporting someone in crisis, is something people need to be involved in.”

Dr Melvin encourages anyone involved in someone’s safety plan to be thoroughly up to speed on its details.

“If you are involved in a person’s plan, you need to have a conversation with them around how you might be able to help. Make sure you understand what’s involved and if you’re a contact person, what the next steps are and the services that might need to be contacted during a crisis,” he said.

Suicidal thoughts can come and go so it’s about being there with people and helping them through tough times when the thoughts might be prominent and hard to handle.

“The feedback we’re getting is that friends and family can assist in different ways. Some people just like someone to have a chat with, shoot the breeze and watch some TV.

“Other people might be better suited to help in a crisis situation and assist you in accessing services in an emergency,” Dr Melvin said.

You can download the free BeyondNow app from Apple or Google Play. For more info about safety planning and BeyondNow, visit bb.org.au/1S12SXE

For tips and resources to help you start a conversation with someone you're worried about visit  www.ruok.org.au/ask-a-mate

If you or a loved one need immediate support, you can contact Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14.


R U OK?

By hello 23 Mar, 2017

Michael Winn is a freelance journalist who uses Write For Your Figh t as a platform to inspire change through personal stories. He believes we are the change that we want to see in the world and hopes this piece inspires more people to ask that simple but potentially life-saving question, “Are you ok?”

Whether we’re going through a break-up, or a tough time at work, a time of confusion, or a time of need – there are moments in life where we all need a sounding board.

A person or a group of people who are there for us, to listen to us, or to discuss things with us. A safe space where we can truly open up, and let out exactly how we are feeling.

And when we aren’t feeling OK, a good sounding board can make all the difference in the world.

A sounding board can be found over a coffee, or over a beer. In a face-to-face conversation, or through a phone. With someone we know, or someone we don’t. When it comes to a good sounding board, it’s all about how we feel.

When you are with someone that can make you feel truly relaxed and cared for, listened to and safe, that’s when our walls come down, and the feelings that we have been harbouring inside can finally be released.

Whether it’s finding a health professional, or a friend that you know will always have your back, the power of a conversation can be the start of the healing process.

For me, opening up came slowly. It took me hitting rock-bottom to realise that internalising my pain, and masking it with a smile wasn’t going to make it go away. And over time, masking these feelings and emotions was turning a problem into an even bigger issue.

My sounding board came in a range of people, with a range of battles they each face in their own lives. It was through these conversations that we could share our pain, and shed our pain.

Conversations in the park, watching their child run amok on a playground. Nights on the couch with a cider and a boxset of American Horror Story. Or a private conversation at a family dinner – each conversation was different, but at the end of all of them, there was a weight lifted from my shoulders, and the more honest I was, the better I felt.

It took me a while to realise that by looking inside, and trusting my heart, that I knew there were people who would be there for me, no matter what I was going through.

I owe a lot to my sounding board - and when I get married next year, there’s a reason that three of them will be standing next to me, by my side, protecting me as always.

By hello 21 Mar, 2017

Did you know people living in neighbourhoods that are highly connected enjoy, overall, higher levels of physical and mental health?

That’s why we’re getting behind Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community. You can get involved too this Sunday, March 26 by reaching out and connecting with your neighbours. You could grab a cuppa, throw a picnic or simply knock on the door of older person in your neighbour and say hi.  

Need more convincing? Getting to know your neighbours can reap plenty of benefits, including:

  • developing new friendships
  • feeling an increased sense of security
  • being able to ask your neighbour to keep an eye on your home, collect your mail or feed your pet while you're away on holidays. Even give you that extra egg or cup of sugar when you need it.
By hello 10 Mar, 2017

On Saturday the 11th of March, Lake Cargelligo Recreation Ground will be the venue for the Jamarle Harris Memorial R U OK? Football & Netball Day. The event is the concept of the Harris / Smith family who lost their son/brother to suicide 3 years ago.  The family have planned the event as a way of thanking the local community for the support the family received after their loss and encouraging everyone to check in with anyone who may be struggling with life.

The action packed event will include two games of netball with Lake/Tullibigeal playing against Northern Riverina League Invitational sides, a Golden Oldies combined football & netball match; Auskick; men’s, women’s, boys and girls sprint races along with the ‘Big Bopper’ open sprint for 100kg plus entrants.

The main game of football will see last year’s NRFL premier’s Tullibigeal Hoppers and runners-up Lake Tigers combine to take on a NRFL Invitational team made up of players from Hillston, West Wyalong, Ungarie, Condobolin and some players from the Sunraysia League (around Mildura). The match will feature a number of young and upcoming stars of the Northern Riverina in a pre-season hit-out to help promote the R UOK? message of looking out for your mates. Entry to the event is free and the kiosk will be operating to cater for the day.

Later in the evening, a dinner will be held at the Lake Cargelligo Bowling Club featuring guest speakers Chris McGregor from ‘Mate Helping Mate’ and former NRL player and boxer Joe Williams. An auction of commemorative jumpers worn on the day and AFL memorabilia will be conducted on the night with all funds raised going to R U OK?, Mate Helping Mate and a local Close the Gap charity which will help support young people in sport and recreation pursuits and contribute to holding future community events.

Tickets for the dinner are $25 for Adults and $10 for children aged 15 and under and include a two course meal along with the entertainment. They can be purchased at Lower Lachlan Community Services  from Wednesday 1st March, or at the door on the night if still available.

By hello 10 Mar, 2017

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher will attend the Queanbeyan rodeo this Saturday to encourage rodeo-goers to check-in with their mates and loved ones or anyone who might be struggling with life.

The Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo will be held on Saturday 11th March 2017 at Queanbeyan Showground, Glebe Ave, Queanbeyan.

Brendan said, “People living in regional and rural areas know what it’s like to do it tough and a lot of times have been raised to think it’s not okay to speak up and ask for help when they’re going through challenging times,

“I hope to have some good quality conversations with the Queanbeyan folk and give them some strategies to ensure the people in their lives are connected and protected from suicide.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone,” he said.

The R U OK? marquee will feature inspiring videos playing on the big screen and a Q&A will take place with Brendan and the rodeo’s Justin Potter

In addition to providing an action packed evening of family fun, the Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo raises money for various local charities like R U OK? and other organisations.

The 2016 rodeo saw top riders from all over Australia kick up the dust, including Carl Green who took out the John Mills Memorial All Round Highest Point Award at Queanbeyan Rodeo 2016.

The Queanbeyan Rodeo were awarded Outstanding Community Event by John Barilaro in 2016 and also awarded the 2016 Committee of the year from the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association.

Entries from Australia’s top cowboys and cowgirls. Top prize money in all events.   Local (Yass) stock contractor, George Hempenstall, will be bringing his legendary bucking bulls and both JP “Happy” Gill and Rick Wilson will be bringing the very best of their bucking horses.

The sensational bullfighters, Rodney Ray Mansell and Lance Bonham, will be on hand to protect the cowboys and the hilarious Al Wilson will be entertaining the crowd from within the arena.

All the action can be seen live and also on the ‘big screen’ above the chutes. Great food and bar facilities and lots of carnival entertainment for the kids will make the 2017 Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo a great day/night out!

o   Opening Times:

Gates open at 2pm with the main event 4pm till late.

o   Admission:

Adults $20, Aged Pensioner $15, Children 8-15yrs $15, under 8 free, Family Pass (2 Adults & 2 Children over 8) $60.


By hello 10 Mar, 2017

Around 100 devoted, glittered up R U OK? supporters gathered at 4pm at the F45 gym in Darlinghurst the afternoon of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, to run through their dance routine one last time.

The enthusiastic crowd of men and women sported R U OK? Budgy Smugglers or black skorts and R U OK? running tanks, gold ribbons and sequinned wrist bands. The vibe was electric as the dancers made their way to the marshalling area past equally amazing costumes, floats and fabulousness. Our R U OK? Ambassadors Bianca Dye and Steven Oliver lead the pack. The R U OK? float sported our Share the Love signage, along with a talented DJ and friendly truck driver.

And then the rivers of gold glitter began to flow.

Dancers sprayed and slapped it over their bodies which collectively looked dazzling. Before long it was showtime and the float began rolling out of marshalling and down Oxford street.

Butterflies and anticipation mixed with mild nerves were allayed as we moved in choreographed splendour around the bend, to the roar of the crowd. Waves, hugs, hand slaps and general goodwill from the throng of thousands made a 45 minute March to Moore Park road seem like a mere 10 minute stroll.

It was an amazing night, full of goodwill and great energy. But most of all we feel R U OK? sent out a powerful message to a community that needs more people checking-in and checking-in again, with anyone who might be struggling.

Thanks to our committee members, dancers and all the big-hearted folk who helped in so many ways, to make our first mardi gras a very meaningful night.

By hello 07 Mar, 2017
Last weekend, 72 R U OK? supporters came together to show the power of conversation and community. The group battled the rain, strong winds and poor visibility as they attempted to summit Mt. Kosciuszko.

Unfortunately, the unsafe conditions meant the group were unable to complete the summit track but their spirits, unwavering support and sense of adventure saw them complete two alternative tracks through Mt Kosciuszko National Park. What a bunch of legends!

Completing the tracks wasn’t the only legendary effort on the weekend as collectively the team raised a staggering $74,000 to help inspire more life-changing conversations.

Steve ‘Commando’ Willis who led the group said, “I’ve been inspired by everyone’s firm belief in the power of conversation. This was a great opportunity to get out in nature and make new friends. Not only have this group inspired me with their high spirits but also their motivation to start conversations with anyone who might be going through tough times.”

The funds raised will support R U OK?’s Community Ambassador Program to ensure there are ambassadors in all corners of Australia ready to empower more people to meaningfully connect with those around them and support anyone struggling with life.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in Conquer Kozi. We’re already looking ahead to 2018!
By hello 28 Feb, 2017

ONE of Australia’s most respected trainers and R U OK? ambassador Steve “Commando” Willis, will guide 75 men and women up Mt Kosciuszko in R U OK?’s first adventure trek “Conquer Kozi”, an 18km charity walk to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain.

By hello 28 Feb, 2017

SUICIDE prevention charity R U OK? will show its support for Australia’s LGBTQI community in a spectacular way at the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, on March 4. One hundred choreographed dancers, staff and ambassadors will march behind R U OK?’s first ever Mardi Gras float.

By hello 27 Feb, 2017

Alex Phillips is an R U OK? supporter and the founder and editor of The Banter Press – a series of thoughts, reflections, soulful advice and general banter for conquering your twenties and beyond.

This article first appeared on The Banter Press.

Depression is an unforgiving force that will strangle the life out of you if you allow it to. There was a time in my life when I could not catch my breath. I was drowning in a pool of toxic thoughts, existing only in the physical form. The incessant current of negativity shooting through my veins made for a very confusing couple of years. I felt as though my tears were unjustified and my problems insignificant. Any attempt to decipher this wretched onslaught of emotion would involve listing anything remotely negative in my life, a harmful tactic employed to justify the seemingly irrational flood of tears. Of course, this only provoked a vicious cycle, one that has taken me years to reverse. Every now and then, it will resurface, ready to trap me in my moments of vulnerability. Fortunately, I’m stronger now (mentally) and able to fight off the demons that attempt to latch on and demolish my spirit. If you’re battling similar demons, you need to remember that you are not alone. Secondly, you need to believe that there is a way out of the trenches you’ve fallen into.

 

The inexplicable string of emotions, the feelings of disconnect, the assumption that nobody will understand what you’re going through - this is the reality for 3 million Australians who suffer from depression and anxiety. You are not alone in this battle. There is an  enormous ecosystem of support  available to you, ready to uproot you from the darkness that is currently obstructing your view of the future.

 

Talking through your feelings, regardless of how painful it may be, is the only way you’re going to soothe your soul and plant those seeds of positivity. It is impossible to gain perspective when the same toxic thoughts are circulating around and poisoning your mindset. My policy is to cry it out and talk it out - it is the first step to dissolving those feelings of isolation and lightening the burden. The monumental wave of relief that flows from an honest conversation is truly liberating. I’m no longer afraid to share my story, in fact, I consider it the best form of therapy.

 

Remember that you are strong and resilient and you will survive this seemingly endless rough patch - it does not have to bleed into the rest of your life. I know that some days can feel like a complete write-off, but there is a bright future that lies ahead of you and surrounding yourself with a powerful network of support is the best way to unlock that future.

 

If someone you know is one of the 3 million and you’d like to help them share their story,  R U OK?  encourages you to start the conversation using these 4 steps:

1.    Ask R U OK?

2.    Listen; without judgement

3.    Encourage action

4.    Check in

 

If you or someone you know is  in need of crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit  www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.

You can find other support services on R U OK?'s Find Help page.

 



By hello 09 Feb, 2017

R U OK? is thrilled to announce a new collaboration that will help us reach an international audience through The Mighty 's wide-reaching readership. We plan to develop a growing home page on The Mighty, with our resources appearing on stories and articles throughout their site, with the hope of inspiring more people to reach out and support those struggling with life.

The Mighty is a story-based health community, focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges. Their stories inspire, inform and change attitudes about people struggling through tough times.

Here are some examples of the kind of stories on The Mighty: 31 Honest Answers to 'How Are You?' and What to Say to Your Friend Who Has Depression .

R U OK? is dedicated to ensuring anyone who’s struggling with life has the love, care and support they need. Thanks to this collaboration, we'll be able to reach even more people and start more life-changing conversations, not just in Australia but around the world.

 You can support this collaboration by submitting a story to The Mighty and making your voice heard.

Want to find out more about The Mighty? Check out these links:

www.themighty.com/mental-illness

www.themighty.com/anxiety

www.themighty.com/depression

www.themighty.com/suicide


More Posts
Share by: