Festival in Brother's Memory Raises Awareness of Suicide Prevention Tool

As published in BBC News Online

An IT expert whose brother took his own life is raising awareness of an online suicide prevention tool.

Alice Hendy launched the R;pple tool three years ago after the death of her21-year-old brother Josh.

The technology attaches to browsers and intercepts internet searches related to suicide and self-harm.

Ms Hendy hosted the charity's first festival in Gosport to promote the tool, which she said was the "perfect way" to remember her brother.

 The name R;pple contains a semi-colon, an international symbol for suicide awareness as it represents a place where a sentence, or a life, could end but instead continues on.

With a background as a cyber security specialist Ms Hendy managed to access her brother's computer after his death.

She said:"I was horrified by some of the stuff Josh had been looking at on the internet. He was given tips [and] encouragement for how to take his own life."

R;pple's tool works to prevent suicidal people from accessing similar content online.

Instead of displaying the searched content the software displays positive messaging and links to mental health support and other resources.

The tool has intervened in over 17,000 harmful searches on the internet, but doesn't track or register any personal or identifiable information.

Ms Hendy said since she started the charity 26 people have told her "that they are still here because R;pple intervened at their most vulnerable point".

"It's those figures which keeps me going and gets me up in the morning," she said.

She said the festival had been inspired by "one of my happiest memories with my brother - going to festivals and gigs around the country".

The plugin is free to download for individuals, parents, schools, and registeredcharities.

View the original publication in BBC News Online