Charities partner to launch new Mental Health Helpline Technology

Thousands of Irish people in crisis are set to benefit from the launch of a new technology which reduces the time it takes to select and contact a suitable mental health helpline.

According to recent findings in the British Medical Journal, people in the UK are experiencing heightened levels of depression, stress and anxiety since the onset of Covid-19.¹ In Ireland, young people (15-25) are most likely to see their mental health impacted due to the pandemic.²

A new online helpline tool developed by Live For Tomorrow, and launched in partnership with the Molly Rose Foundation, is set to help news companies and social media platforms more effectively connect people in crisis with mental health support services.

The service will offer the world’s largest database of mental health helplines to those experiencing distress providing a new, more user friendly, online interface embedded on media websites. The interface makes it easier to select the right mental health support service instantly.

Users will also be able to access over 1,600 helplines around the world directly through the charity’s Find A Helpline website in the coming weeks.

Molly Rose Foundation Chair, Ian Russell, whose teenage daughter, Molly, took her own life in 2017 after viewing graphic self-harm and suicide content on social media, says that navigating the wide variety of helplines can easily become overwhelming for someone in crisis and a barrier to accessing help.

“Finding the right source of help can prove impossibly difficult, particularly for people in crisis.

“We aim to make finding the right help when you need it as easy and straightforward as possible by guiding a path around the existing barriers and revealing a safe route towards support.

“This new web-based widget can be widely used across the web, especially on news pages and social media platforms where the content carried may sometimes trigger users to look for help.

“People can easily search and filter the huge amount of available help, quickly leading to the most appropriate helplines for the way they are feeling. 

“Ever since we started the Molly Rose Foundation it’s been one of our aims to better connect young people experiencing mental distress to the emotional and practical support they need. Find A Helpline is exactly what we have been looking for and will help all those in need connect to a trusted source of help,” says Ian.

Live For Tomorrow has also beaten international competition to be accepted into the Headstream Accelerator programme in San Francisco – which is supported by a Melinda Gates founded investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.

Lauren Purse, Director of People & Operations at Live For Tomorrow, says the funding and international recognition from the programme has opened a number of doors, including voluntary support from technology company AND Digital to pilot Find A Helpline with the Pandemic Crisis Services Response Coalition in the United States, a coalition of leading mental health organisations across the country.

She says although still in beta testing at the time, the chance to be the primary bridge between helplines and the public during the pandemic has meant they are well placed to expand their offering globally.

“Today we’re launching Find A Helpline in the UK & Ireland, but within the coming weeks, we’ll also launch in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

“Once our service covers the whole English-speaking world, we will look for support to make it available in other locations and languages. Our goal is to have one platform that, if you’re struggling, wherever you are in the world, within a matter of clicks you can talk to someone confidentially about what’s going on,” she says.

¹  BMJ. Accessible here
² The Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. Accessible here