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Keeping Our Youth Safe with the Help of Their Smart Phones

Be Safe AppWhen a teen is facing a mental health crisis, they often have no idea where to turn.  Although parents, teachers and friends may be within earshot, it’s a tough conversation to begin.  They aren’t sure what to say.  They are afraid they may be misunderstood, and perhaps worried that their peers will make fun of them. Fortunately, mental health issues are beginning to lose their stigma as more and more people speak openly about their personal challenges.

Beginning this September, there will be a new, and very convenient way for teens to reach out for help, and it is a close as their own smartphones.  A new app has been created to address these issues head on.  The Be Safe App was originally developed for youth in the London area, but the concept was so well received that it has now been expanded to thirteen Ontario communities, including Durham region.  The app is easy to use, confidential, and can be accessed at any time of day or night.

The Be Safe App isn’t meant to fix a problem, but rather, point the teen in the right direction to get the help they need.  The creators found that young people were intimidated by the mental health system.  They weren’t sure who to call, and often found that they were turned away if they didn’t find their way through the proper channels.  The Be Safe App is intended to take the guess work out of navigating the mental health system.

Essentially, the Be Safe App provides a list of resources – including local hospitals, private clinics, and crisis lines.  It helps them create script to express their situation.  Other content includes an explanation of patient rights and what to expect when they seek help from a professional.  The app will be officially released for download on September 10th to coincide with Suicide Prevention Month.

For adults seeking help, Durham Mental Health Services is a local organization that provides their own list of important resources.  Their crisis response line serves a similar purpose – assisting the people of Durham region deal with crisis, family challenges, mental health questions and more.  For those who have never had to seek help before, it’s a single phone call that will guide them to the right place as quickly as possible.

The conversation about mental health is an important one, and it’s encouraging to see that help is only a phone call – or click – away for those that need a hand in a tough situation.

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