1. How was R; pple born?
I lost my only brother, my brother Josh, on November 25, 2020 by suicide. Josh was 21.
My day job is to work in IT and cybersecurity; I have worked for global financial institutions and insurance companies in London.
After examining Josh’s phone and laptop after his death, I found out that Josh had researched techniques for killing himself through internet research, suicide forums, and video tutorials.
I have also found that content available online as a result of research of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format – a helpline.
To ensure that more help and support is given to those facing a mental health crisis and searching for harmful content online, I used my computer and cybersecurity skills to set up R; pple Suicide Prevention.
R; pple provides an immediate and dynamic display on a user’s device once they have been flagged as searching for self-harm or suicide online content.
This consists of a message of hope, as well as encouraging users to use a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different options, such as call, text, online chat, application and other resources.
2. To what extent has your role in insurance influenced or supported the creation of R; pple?
My employer, QBE Insurance, has been just amazing in their personal support and in building R; pple. My stakeholders showed interest in my idea from the start and I am delighted to say that QBE was the very first organization to deploy R; pple to its entire UK population of employee machines.
The deployment of R; pple on QBE now means that anyone struggling with their mental health and doing harmful research on the topic of self-harm or suicide will be intercepted by R; pple and receive a message of hope and support. . .
To date, R; pple has been downloaded over 100,000 times in a matter of weeks, with schools, colleges, universities, parents, caregivers, and charities able to download R; pple for free (a fee is however required of companies). .
About 22 external people contacted R; pple to inform us that the tool intercepting them online at their most vulnerable point saved their lives and that they are now receiving mental health support.
So far, R; pple has won seven awards in the field of mental health, after its official launch only in September 2021.
R; pple gained significant media coverage in the UK, reaching over 8.5 million people and appearing on national television, radio and press.
3. Want to get more groups of brokers and insurers to join – has the insurance community been receptive to R; pple so far?
I would like to see more groups of insurers deploy R; pple. I consider it a duty and obvious for all organizations to deploy R; pple and prioritize the well-being of their staff.
The insurance community has so far been incredibly supportive of R; pple, but we need to go further and deploy R; pple in as many organizations as possible to start seeing tangible improvements in our community by accessing health support. mental when they need it most.
Paul Handleigh, Managing Director of YouTalk Insurance, has been instrumental in delivering wonderful introductions to the world of insurance. Without Handleigh’s support, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of working with as many brokers and insurers as we have today.
I would also like to call for the support of Biba and, in particular, of its Managing Director Steve White.
White and his team have been very supportive of R; pple and included us in the December edition of Biba Brokers Magazine.
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has also very kindly asked us to participate in their upcoming webinar, to educate their members on mental health and suicide prevention, which I look forward to.
How do brokers register?
- The tool can be downloaded from Google Chrome here (UK version only).
- The tool can be downloaded from Microsoft Edge here (UK version only).
- A video demo on how to download R; pple can be found here (UK version only).
For brokers and insurers wishing to deploy R; pple to their workforce, please email [email protected] to discuss further.
4. What changes would you like to see regarding funding for suicide prevention initiatives, such as R; pple?
People are the most important part of any business. Without people we are not successful, so we have to take care of them – and that includes making sure their mental well-being is a priority.
That being said, there is still a long way to go in this area to support innovative new initiatives that prevent other families from experiencing the sadness, loss and hopelessness that we have experienced.
R; pple is a charity. We’re not interested in profits or making money – we just want to make sure people get the mental health support they need when they are most vulnerable.
However, to further develop our technology, we need funding, which can be easily obtained from the insurance community and brokers who wish to deploy R; pple in their organization. R; pple also has a JustGiving page for donations.
5. What’s next for R; pple?
Our priority this year is to make sure that R; pple is available on Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera browsers. R; pple is currently deployed on Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
We are also looking to develop R; pple to be compatible with mobile devices and tablets, which means we can intercept a much larger audience that could conduct malicious searches online.
Finally, we are globalizing. We are working hard behind the scenes to create bespoke versions of R; pple in countries around the world. The primary focus will be on English-speaking countries, including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.