FAST App: A New Way To Reduce Suicide

image of Dr Mark LarsenDr Mark Larsen is a Research Fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention at the Black Dog Institute in Sydney. His research explores the ways in which technology can deliver effective mental health interventions to reduce the risk of suicide amongst young people, particularly among those that have made a previous attempt.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in Australia, with around 65,000 attempts and 2,500 deaths each year. It is also the leading cause of death of young people in Australia.

Following a suicide attempt, the risk of a repeat attempt is particularly high during the first few days after discharge from hospital but getting help and support at this time can be challenging. Brief interventions, including simple strategies such as the hospital sending postcards to the individual, can help reduce the risk of re-attempt. It is expected that a technology-based intervention will be more appealing and have greater potential for engaging people, particularly young people, at this critical time.

image of smartphoneAFFIRM is proud to support Dr Larsen’s research to develop a mobile phoned-based system for supporting people following their release from hospital after a suicide attempt.

Development of this project (FAST; Follow up after a suicide attempt) will follow a series of co-design workshops with health professionals and people who have previously attempted suicide, to identify useful support strategies which can be incorporated into a mobile phone, for example through messaging and apps.