Suicide Prevention App in the works

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By Devina Samaroo

A young social activist is in the process of developing a suicide prevention app for mobile devices which can connect persons with counsellors from around the world and provide access to suicide prevention strategies.

Samantha Sheoprashad, the founder of a local web design and development company, is creating a digital network that can help persons who are experiencing difficult times to reach out to counsellors whose services will be available 24/7.

“One of the areas that it’s actually covering is counselling. It will connect possible suicide victims or persons who have depression or any mental disorder with counsellors,” Sheoprashad told News Room during a recent interview.

Sheoprashad said the app can connect persons with specialists from the United States, England and India.

In addition to collaborating with persons in those countries, Sheoprashad said she is working with local organizations who agreed to have their services offered on the app.

She also worked with the Mental Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health to develop the algorithm for the app.  The app allows users to build a profile so that counsellors can assess their progress in overcoming their challenges.

It will also offer tips on improving mental health and wellbeing.

Though a lot of progress has been made already in developing the service, the young leader said she needs more funding to be able to complete the project.

“For this app to launch, we need some more funding. I would like to have some more mental health specialists and support from local organizations. I am generally looking for more support,” she stated.

She said persons interested in assisting in the development of the app can contact her on Facebook.

Country Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Dr Adu Krow had disclosed last year that while Guyana once had the highest suicide rate in the world, the rate had declined considerably.

Two years ago, the Guyana Police Force launched the Suicide Prevention Helpline which is a centre equipped with trained persons who will be answering phones and responding to text messages or emails.

The helpline can be reached at 223-0001, 223-0009, 600-7896, or 623-4444.

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