An Innovative Approach to Teen Suicide Prevention

A developing app takes a dual approach to teen suicide prevention. 

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When it comes to technology’s impact on our health, we hear nothing but negativity. We’re bombarded with scare-phrases like “tech addiction” and led to believe that it’s just a matter of time before our beloved electronic devices turn us into anti-social zombies with carpal tunnel and poor posture.

But not all bits and bytes are bad. In fact, an app was just designed and tested by clinician-researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital that aims to combat one of the most serious public health problems there is: teen suicide.

Aptly named, Crisis Care taps into techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy, which is known to decrease depressive feelings. It offers two complementary modes—adolescent and parent—and is customizable to each individual’s needs and preferences.

In adolescent mode, teens can explore various coping strategies such as meditation and relaxation practices, while parents can use their mode to learn how to best help their teen based on his or her responses. Both modes have the option to call the suicide hotline or 911 for immediate help. The app is also rumored to potentially incorporate an emergency text line.

Pilot tests have yielded positive feedback, and researchers are now in the process of securing grant money to be able to put their app on the market.

Your child’s mental health should not be dismissed. For more insight into teen depression and suicide, check out our Nov/Dec 2014 “We Have Depression” feature.