Last year, we introduced Alice Hendy, founder of R;pple Suicide Prevention Charity. Alice lost her brother Josh on 25th November 2020 to suicide at only 21 years old.
Days after Josh’s passing, Alice found searches on his laptop for ways to end his own life – and websites that advised on how to do so.
In response, Alice created a tool called R;pple in his memory and has since formed a team to spearhead suicide prevention through her online interceptive tool. R;pple appears on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for online content relating to self-harm or suicide. R;pple intercepts the user and provides a message of hope as well as a selection of 24/7, free mental health support resources in a range of different options (call, text, webchat, apps).
Alarmingly, of the 100+ organisations in the UK who have deployed R;pple so far, not one is in the agricultural sector and this year, Alice is on agricultural organisations to do more to protect their staff from poor mental health.
According to Alice: “Recent research by the Farm Safety Foundation highlight that 94% of farmers under 40 rank poor mental health as the biggest hidden problem facing the industry.
“Long hours, isolated and lonely working conditions, and poor weather conditions can all have an impact on someone’s mental health”, continues Alice.
“So, I’m calling on all agricultural companies to do more, check in with your staff, create a network they feel a connection to, listen to your farm workers without judgement and deploy R;pple across your organisation to break down mental health barriers in farming”.
To date, the technology has been downloaded over 1 million times, intercepted over 5,750 harmful online searches and saved a minimum of 24 lives being lost to suicide.
Numbers like this are impressive as they are real people and real lives saved so why is the agricultural sector lagging behind?
“In an industry that has 472,000 people working in it, to lose 36 of them in one year to suicide is something we all need to wake up to,” agrees Stephanie Berkeley, manager of the Farm Safety Foundation.
Alice concludes: “As a society, we can better support people with suicidal thoughts by supporting and looking out for each other more. People may seem fine on the exterior, but might be experiencing turmoil on the inside.”
R;pple and the Farm Safety Foundation are committed to working together to reduce the number of lives lost and tackle the stigma surrounding the topic of self-harm and suicide so that people are no longer afraid to speak up if they are experiencing mental health issues, whatever they might be going through.
If you or someone you know needs help, please CLICK HERE to access the Little Book of Minding Your Head – The book contains the contact details and hours of opening of many of the UK’s farming charities and rural support groups.
If you, or someone you are with feels overwhelmed by thoughts of not wanting to live or having urges to attempt suicide, get help NOW. Call a suicide hotline.
Samaritans 116 123
NHS Emergency 999
Papyrus HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141