Sister who started suicide prevention charity after brother's death made MBE

As published in Yahoo News

A loving sister who set up a suicide prevention charity after her brother took his own life has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Alice Hendy hoped to “stop the pain” she felt when she lost her younger brother Josh by creating an internet extension that intercepts harmful online searches relating to suicide and self-harm.

Using her work knowledge, the 32-year-old cyber security expert from Stubbington created the tool, which has been called a “game changer” in the mental health sector.

She also founded the R;pple Suicide Prevention charity and in August this year launched the first R;pplefest festival with live music and guest speakers.

Alice has now been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to online safety.

She was told about being made an MBE the same week she marked the third anniversary of Josh's death.

Speaking to the Echo, she said: “It was very poignant to be told the news on that week. It had been a difficult week and then the letter arrived, and it was quite sad.

“Setting up my charity was never about recognition. It was about making sure other people get the support they need when they’re most vulnerable.

“I am incredibly humbled that I am getting recognised.”

Josh took his life aged 21 in November 2020 after his mental health declined.

A year later Alice founded the R;pple Suicide Prevention charity to help raise the alarm to those in desperate need of support.

In a year and a half, the browser extension has become available in 47 countries and 14 languages and the charity employs four staff and three volunteers.

She said she now hopes to be able to reach vulnerable people when they most need help and support them.

She said: “It’s too late for my family, it’s too late for Josh.

"But it isn’t too late for other families and other friends and other people.

“I named the charity ‘R;pple’ because when someone chooses to end their life there is a huge ripple effect to the family and friends around that person.”

The i in the charity’s name is replaced with a semicolon, which is symbolic of the continuation of someone's life, representing strength in the middle of a storm.

Alice's success was celebrated by Ian Russell, who was also made an MBE in the Honours list for services to child safety.

His daughter Molly, 14, from Harrow, died from an act of self-harm while suffering from the negative effects of online content in 2017.

He contributed to the establishment of the Online Safety Bill.

Mr Russell, 60, said: “Alice Hendy is one of the most extraordinary people that I’ve met in this space.

“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.”