Grassroots Suicide Prevention is celebrating an award earlier this week of a grant to transform its “Stay Alive” mobile phone app.
The smartphone app has had more than 120,000 downloads since its launch in 2014 and research suggests that it has had a positive effect in helping to prevent suicide.
To ensure the app continues to improve in response to the needs of users, Grassroots want be carry out a four-year development and evaluation plan.
The new £400,000 grant from the National Lottery will enable the continuing development of the Stay Alive app which offers help and support to people with thoughts of suicide and to those worried about someone else.
The grant will increase the team’s capacity, bring additional digital expertise in-house to Grassroots and simultaneously evaluate the app to test its effectiveness and provide further scope for development and promotion.
Alex Harvey, head of development at Grassroots Suicide Prevention, said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity to take the Stay Alive app to the next level so that it can help even more people to stay safe from suicide.
“With four years of funding, we will be able to expand our team’s in-house expertise and work in a truly progressive, responsive way – listening to users’ feedback, testing fresh approaches, staying open to the latest digital developments and sharing our research with the sector.
“Ultimately, the aim is to make Stay Alive the most helpful, intuitive, comprehensive and well-used resource available to people at risk of suicide and those who want to help them.”
John Knights, the senior head of the UK portfolio at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “In a digital society, it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities, improve services and support more people.
“Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”
The Digital Fund was developed through a series of one-to-one interviews and workshops, with the aim to help organisations grow their digital capabilities, particularly around their operations and service delivery.
It builds on the National Lottery Community Fund’s previous experience of supporting the voluntary sector’s digital transition which stretches back over a decade.
As a condition of the grant, Grassroots will collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector. This is a key aim for the National lottery Community Fund when setting up the Digital Fund.
About Grassroots Suicide Prevention
Grassroots is a UK leader in suicide prevention. As an organisation, it helps to create safe spaces in our communities to talk about suicide. Grassroots supports people in their communities to develop the skills and confidence needed to save lives. It also hosts free live music gigs where people touched by suicide can meet and talk.
It offers training, signposting and helps people in frontline jobs, family and friends to have the kind of conversations that save lives.
Grassroots staff and volunteers challenge the stigma that surrounds suicide or mental health difficulties and encourages help-seeking through face to face courses and its social media community.
The organisation is funded by a mixture of training income, public health contracts, grants, money raised from fundraising and individual donations.
Roz Scott is a freelance journalist and copywriter. Subscribe to Roz’s blog at www.rozscott.com.