Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cross-Lateral Text-Based Suicide Prevention

I just received a telephone call from a friend in Australia, who wanted to tell me all about this new service over there that may come here soon too. It's called Inspire, and at the moment, all I can tell you is what I think it does - or should do, based on what I get of it.

Ever wanted to kill yourself? I know I have, and for years I simply had the Suicide Hotline number memorized and I would call them, just to check in before I checked out. What Inspire plans to do is figure out a way to build virtual communities around the issue of suicide - perhaps your own personal cohort of would-be suicides whom you'd keep from pulling the trigger - only to find them pulling you back from the edge as well.

The beauty of Inspire is two-fold: 1) it's geared towards young people, who in Australia as well as in the United States have staggeringly high rates of self-destruction, and 2) it's virtual, which might just mean you could only access it via the web - but if I had my way, you'd be able to contact your suicide anti-pact cohort via your mobile. A would-be suicidal teen could text a quick message of down-ness while in the lavoratory - or tap-text feel-good affirmations to a depressed buddy in class. You could even stand on the soccer field and file a voice-rant over the mobile - which would then be converted to MP3 and available for everyone else to hear, both as an alarm that you were hurting - and as a reminder that *everyone* sometimes doesn't want to be here anymore.


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