Reaching out to others for help isn’t always easy, but a Penticton woman has designed an app to do just that.
The SendOutSupport service features an app designed to make it easier for people who are suffering from emotional or mental distress to ask for help.
“Wherever or whenever they need it, they push the button and their message goes out to their own contacts and then they get coping strategies they have written in their own words, so it is completely personalized,” said Margie Hibbard, the app’s creator.
SendOutSupport works for people suffering from a range of mental health issues: depression, post-partum, stress, bereavement, addiction, abuse and other issues.
When activated, users can reach out instantly to a wide range of personal and professional support networks as well as program personal coping strategies, customize messaging and access resources specific to their needs including national, regional and local crisis centres.
Users can customize the app, adding people in their own support network who will be messaged when they press the button. That might include a peer support worker, counselor, life coach, family or friends.
The message goes out to the entire group, but the other members of the support network don’t know who else you’ve contacted. It simply says you are asking them to reach out.
“There are a lot of situations in life where you just need a little bit of help,” said Hibbard. “SendOutSupport is designed so it can be customized and personalized to each user based on their condition, based on their therapy, based on the journey that they are going on.”
Hibbard was inspired to create the app by her own experiences. She suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her second child, along with a hormone imbalance that has depression-like symptoms.
While experiencing an episode and reaching out to a couple of people on her own support network who weren’t able to respond quickly, she found herself stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk.
“I talked myself completely out of asking anybody else for help,” said Hibbard. “Once I got past that night, the idea came that it really should be easier. Isn’t there an app for that?
“There are great apps out there, but there isn’t one that just lets you push a button and contact your people. And there isn’t one that sends you your reminders. Until now.”
SendOutSupport gives the user control over situations that Hibbard said used to make her feel powerless.
“You can put your own stamp on it. You can have a little bit of control and power over you own recovery,” said Hibbard. “That’s what I am trying to do, is make it easier for people to ask for help.”
SendOutSupport launched this morning, introduced at two events for the Bell Let’s Talk Day (Jan. 25) at the Jumping Beans Play Café in Penticton.
SendOutSupport is available in Android or iOS platforms in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Visit www.SendOutSupport.ca for the link.
Let’s Talk Day is Bell’s mental health initiative offering ways for people to get engaged and drive Bell’s funding of mental health care, research, anti-stigma and workplace initiatives across Canada.