As published in The News
The founder of a suicide prevention charity has been recognised in this year’s New Year’s Honours after she turned her own heartbreaking experience into a practical help for others.
Stubbington’s Alice Hendy, lost her sibling, Josh, 21, to suicide in November 2020 after he had been searching for techniques to take his own life through harmful internet searches. She subsequently launched R;pple – an online interceptive tool designed to ensure that more help and support is provided to people who are conducting searches relating to self-harm or suicide. She has been appointed as an MBE for services to online safety.
She said that receiving the MBE was ‘a huge honour’. She said: “When I first started R;pple, the intention was never to achieve any recognition or gain back slaps in any way, it was a way for me to remember my brother, to continue his legacy and ultimately to stop other people from feeling so low that they believe that taking their own life is their best option. The creation of R;pple has helped a lot of people and it’s all in the name of my brother. So, very humbled, very overwhelmed really to receive the letter through my letterbox in between all of my bills and my mortgage and so on. And, yeah, looking forward to raising a glass to Josh as a result.”
Alice also received praise from the father of 14-year-old Molly Russell from London who took her own life after viewing thousands of images promoting suicide and self-harm. Her father Ian Russell was made an MBE for services to child safety online after he set up the Molly Rose Foundation suicide prevention charity in her memory and contributed to the establishment of the Online Safety Bill.
Mr Russell said it’s ‘fantastic news that all that Alice has achieved has been recognised’. “Alice Hendy is one of the most extraordinary people that I’ve met in this space,” he said. “Her bravery and her courage after losing her brother Josh is extraordinary and what she’s achieved with the R;pple suicide prevention tool she’s developed is extraordinary, I just can’t quite understand why it hasn’t been adopted more quickly and more widely by platforms and by people.”