Expects the new technology to help reduce Australia's suicide rates

<pre><pre>Expects the new technology to help reduce Australia's suicide rates

In the era of Doctor Google, self-diagnosis can be problematic.

But when it comes to mental health, online assistance can be a first step to saving lives.

"Technology allows scale, it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week … you can get information immediately, you can call people, you get an answer through automated chatbots," said Helen Christensen, director of the Black Dog Institute.

She says that most people at risk of suicide do not seek traditional mental health services, which means that online tools can be crucial.

Now, the suicide prevention organization has developed a free, online and interactive self-help program called & # 39; myCompass & # 39 ;.

It offers personalized treatments for anxiety and depression from mild to moderate stress, and is just one of a growing list of online tools designed to address mental health problems and reduce suicide rates.

The advocate of suicide prevention Shannai Pearce talks about her experience.

SBS

Shannai Pearce attempted suicide for the first time when she was 14 years old.

For her, the online help could have been a game changer.

"It would have given me some kind of privacy on the subject and it would have given me some kind of start before talking to someone face to face."

In addition to its myCompass program, the Black Dog Institute has launched an important research project.

Its objective is to see how technology can be better used to create a powerful and tailor-made safety net.

"Reaching everyone is the only way we're really going to change suicide rates because we can not predict who will make a suicide attempt," said Ms. Helen Christensen.

At least six Australians die every day by suicide and another 30 try to take their own lives.

The idea of ​​emerging technologies is to reach as many as possible, sometimes even before realizing that there is a problem.

New technology can provide new avenues to address mental health and reduce suicide.

New technology can provide new avenues to address mental health and reduce suicide.

That goal is something that Shannai Pearce said could have helped her.

"For me personally, I really did not feel like I was experiencing any kind of mental illness.

"I only had this fixed belief that it was a burden."

For some, the stigma of metal health can prevent them from seeking help.

"In my kind of cultural community, it was very difficult for me to even open up and tell anyone what was going on," said Monica Das of "Haathi in the Room," a group that seeks to increase discussions about mental health challenges in Australia. . Communities of South Asia.

"To be honest, there was the fear that it was a sign of weakness on my part."

Monica Das and Sue Advani, who is also from Haathi in the Room, said they rely on social media to reach women in their communities.

"There are many unique problems that we try to address at the grassroots level," said Sue Advani.

A reminder that when it comes to the prevention of suicide, it is not only about reaching the needy, but also about ensuring that the message is heard.

Director of the Black Dog Institute, Helen Christensen.

Director of the Black Dog Institute, Helen Christensen.

SBS News