It wasn’t one suicide note in particular that jolted Amanda Johnstone into action: it was what linked them all. They thought they were a burden and it was just too hard to keep reaching out, says Amanda Johnstone, 33. Growing up in Tasmania, which has Australia’s highest suicide rate, she had three close friends and nine people from her wider social circle take their own lives.
In an attempt to harness her own grief, Johnstone began getting her friends to routinely check in. Each day at 4PM, they would grade their own mental well-being on a scale of 1-10 in a text message sent to the group. This flagged when individuals were feeling low with our having to actively seek help.
More than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization but fewer than half of them receive any treatments for depression. So, Johnstone decided to take her simple scheme global. In November 2017, she launched a free peer-support app, Be a Looper, to let people check in with five friends daily and give themselves a numerical rating for their mental well-being.
We are all on our phones all the time so it made sense to create something that’s already in people’s hands, which gibes them that nudge to reach out and take a little bit of care of each other, she says.
With a staff of 35, Be a Looper has spread to 76 countries – Australia, the US and the UK are top for users-and nearly 20,000 people have flagged suicidal feelings to their loop, allowing their support network to rally around. It’s a simple routine that can save lives. It’s more of a burden to bury these people, says Johnston. You can never forget these people.
By Charlie Campbell
This is such a simple helpful solution. We hope that those reading this blog will consider engaging in this to get that extra support during the tough times in life. Remember, WE DON’T HAVE TO DO LIFE ALONE!