In March 2013 eReadia LLC and NASPA, the leading voice for the student affairs profession in higher education worldwide, announced a partnership to bring new mobile technologies to the fight against suicide and mental health crisis on college campuses. The “Just in Case” mobile app will provide student affairs professionals at over 1,400 member institutions with a way to reach students on campus whenever they need information, support, and intervention services because of a mental health crisis that may result in suicide. With over 1,100 suicides every year on college campuses, the “Just in Case” app was designed by eReadia to assist students with self-assessment tools and crisis communication links that are readily accessible and provided on the device of choice for most young people.
Kevin Kruger, President of NASPA, said of the partnership, “We think that the time for mobile delivery of these critical resources is here. Several recent high-profile cases have told us that support for a student undergoing crisis is critical on an ‘anywhere, anytime’ basis. But equally important is support for a friend or roommate who may be in a position to intervene and assist in the process of getting help. Student affairs administrators find themselves on the front-line of this battle, and we believe this tool that turns a smartphone into a lifeline for at-risk students and their concerned friends should be a part of every institution’s suicide prevention strategy.”
Approximately half of all college students report having suicidal thoughts at some point. “With 18-24 year olds representing the highest smartphone ownership among all age demographics, we think that using this “Just in Case” mobile app to access support and guidance in case of a crisis makes great sense”, said Will DeLamater, CEO of eReadia. “In addition, we are thrilled to use our technology for great social benefit. From the outset of this project, it has been informed by our company chairman, Stephen Segal, who serves as well as president of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national non-profit working to help mentally ill people get treatment.”
The “Just in Case” app operates on all major smartphone platforms, and provides a set of guidelines and links for both students in crisis and for those around them. Using phrases like “I can’t cope…” and “I’m worried about a friend…,” the simple app interface guides students to the information and the help that fits their circumstance. Colleges work with eReadia to customize the app for their own set of intervention resources on campus and in the local community. A special section of each app will orient students to the quickest way to get help, and the app will be designed with school colors and logos.
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