Suicide prevention charity promotes its web tool on Safer Internet Day

The lodge built for R;pple
The lodge built for R;pple

A SUICIDE prevention charity based in Hampshire is promoting its online tool on Safer Internet Day.

R;pple designed its browser extensions to help people who are conducting searches relating to self-harm or suicide.

It provides an immediate, vibrant display on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for harmful content online.

This comes after a study by Stemrush found that searches for “how to avoid trolling” have increased by 200 per cent in the last two years.

Alice Hendy, who founded R;pple from her Fareham home, said: “Trolling can cause significant harm and distress. It is associated with serious physical and psychological effects, including disrupted sleep, lowered self-esteem, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and in some cases, even suicide.

"Sadly, individuals think their behaviour is acceptable if it takes place behind a screen - it’s not.”

The Stemrush data also shows a growing interest in what an internet troll is, with searches for this increasing by 84 per cent over the last two years as well as searches for “how to spot an internet troll” increasing by 300 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

Research also suggests that more people are being negatively impacted by trolling, with many seeking help through the internet.

Over the last two years, there has been a 300 per cent increase in searches for “why do people troll online”, a 100 per cent increase in searches for whether trolling is illegal, and a 200 per cent increase in searches for “how to deal with an internet troll” since March 2020.

R;pple aims to send a powerful message of hope as well as signposting to a range of mental health support resources such as helplines, text services and webchat facilities from free, established and 24/7 mental health charities.

"I lost my only sibling, Josh, on November 25 2020 to suicide at the age of just 21," said Ms Hendy.

"After examining Josh’s phone and laptop, I found that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life via internet searches, suicide forums and video tutorials. To ensure more help and support is given to individuals in mental health crisis and searching for harmful content online, I set up Ripple Suicide Prevention.

"R;pple is a digital tool, which if a user searches for harmful content online (huge red flag and can suggest dangerous and imminent risk of suicide completion), they will first be guided through a filter of breathing exercises and then very simple, uncluttered and calmly presented strategies and forums, helplines and mental health services they can access both now and longer term, accompanied with messages of hope and encouragement to keep safe."