Is Interactive Cell Phone TXT Messaging a Useful Tool in Early Crisis Management, Intervention and Suicide Prevention?


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Graham Roper. SPINZ Symposium, Dunedin, 28 November 2006.

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Is Interactive Cell Phone TXT Messaging a Useful Tool in Early Crisis Management, Intervention and Suicide Prevention?

  1. 1. CommunicationCommunication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, orrhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard.People can only hear you when they are moving toward you; they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them.Even the choicest words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech.
  2. 2. LIFETxTLifetxt is a method that utilities cell phoneinteractive txt messaging as a tool in early intervention of a crisis Crisis – crucial; turning point; time of extreme trouble Collins English dictionary Patent/copyright 2006
  3. 3. Objective• Using the latest technology and taking advantage of popular methods of communicating, lifetxt aims to provide members of the public with the ability to use their mobile phone to send txt messages to obtain critical support from public support networks. • (Text messaging remains the most popular service for mobile phone users in the Asia Pacific region….) SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS.
  4. 4. Why?• The technoglogy is in wide use throught NZ and the World• High user groups are young people• Creates access for the 1 in 10 who have a hearing disablity• Enables access , in private, in a range of circumstances.
  5. 5. What we do know• The ‘service’ can be provided.• It is very cost effective/inexpensive.• There are approx 4 million cell phone users in NZ (vodophone 2,100,000 – june 06 - 55% market share)• Useage growing at a rate of 55% per year• The hearing impared cannot readly access crisis support/intervention telephone services• It meets a number of needs in the ‘New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 – 2016’ MoH June 06
  6. 6. Why – an example• 33,000 students took the opportunity to stand up and be counted in this years online survey, an increase of more than 15,000 from ‘CensusAtSchool 2003’. Over 2,000 teachers registered their classes nationwide.• Technology• In the last two years cell phone ownership has increased dramatically more than doubling for 9 -10 year-olds. By age 14, a massive 84% of the children surveyed have their own cell phones• Phone ownership by age• Age 2003 2005 Percent Increase 9 10% 22% 120% 10 13% 29% 123% 11 23% 44% 91% 12 33% 59% 79% 13 51% 76% 49% 14 59% 84% 42%
  7. 7. Targeted applications• Interactive crisis intervention• Crisis management• Suicide prevention• Text ‘Bulling’ support/intervention• Early intervention
  8. 8. Possible Service Providers• Any sector group with similar objectives.• Lifeline• Youth LineNote; Since presentation was completed, a ‘Not for profit’ Trust has been formed with the objective, ‘to provide a nation-wide interactive txt counselling service’. An advisory group has been established to ensure a functional, quality, evaluated service is provided. Funding proposals, for a free txt service, are before various Government organisations. Additional information –• World wide – Registered interest from; – Australia; youth mental health services – U.S.A ; foundation for suicide prevention
  9. 9. Questions/Challenges• What are the benefits?• How would we know?• Who would use it?• How often?• Under what circumstances ?
  10. 10. Evaluation Questions and challengesA formal Evaluation tool /template is currently under development – Outcomes measure – Link outcome sheets with data lodge – Funding requirements – Training requirements – Built in Data captivation – Example; Total txts Time
  11. 11. Challenges • Limited ,if any, research on the use of cell phone txt for crisis intervention. • How to manage potential growth world wide. • Funding to continue implementation , evaluation and growth
  12. 12. What we also know
  13. 13. New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 – 2016 The Seven Goals• 1. Promote mental health and wellbeing, and prevent mental health problems.• 2. Improve the care of people who are experiencing mental disorders associated with suicidal behaviour.• 3. Improve the care of people who make non-fatal suicide attempts.• 4. Reduce access to the means of suicide.• 5. Promote the safe reporting and portrayal of suicidal behaviour by the media.• 6. Support families/whänau, friends and others affected by a suicide or suicide attempt.• 7. Expand the evidence about rates, causes and effective interventions.
  14. 14. New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 – 2016 and Lifetxt• 1. Promote mental health and wellbeing, and prevent mental health problems.• 2. Improve the care of people who are experiencing mental disorders associated with suicidal behaviour.• 3. Improve the care of people who make non-fatal suicide attempts.• 7. Expand the evidence about rates, causes and effective interventions
  15. 15. How it works
  16. 16. How it works •lifetxt is provided on a small program that self installs on support groups PC. •Security features mean the program cannot be copied to another PC.•support group users log into a secure server to register.•The secure database issues users with a unique login andpassword.
  17. 17. How it works • A member of the public initiates a txt message and sends to the support groups NOTE: Once a username and password is entered the link and any txt messages transferred between the PC and database is encrypted to ensure the message cannot be interfered with in any way.
  18. 18. How it works• If the original sender replies ‘again’ to the support group, the program will send the txt to the staff member who sent it or next available staff in the queue.• Callers are identified by I.D number linked to the cell phone number• Staff are able to view ‘recent’ messages only, however , total number of txts over time are displayed. * Supervisors have access to all texts*
  19. 19. How it works• A full range of reports are available to the supervisor and the support group.• If a member of the public txt again at any time the database will try to match the caller txt to the support member who responded initially to the txt.
  20. 20. Key Benefits• lifetxt is always available.• People will be able to use mobile phones to get assistance• Supervisors are able to access information either “in session” or from the database history.• Full reporting mechanisms are built in.• The lifetxt solution is cost effective• ALL txt communications are secure• PC’s do not store txt data (vulnerability due to theft is removed)• ALL txt communications between PC and database is encrypted for further security.
  21. 21. Profile Graham Roper• Born; Auckland, New Zealand• Live; Dunedin, New Zealand• Current Occupation (s)∀ • Consumer Advisor, Mental Health and Community Services Otago District Health Board∀ • Owner/developer of Emergency Information Systems • includes - Lifetxt• Professional associations∀ • Chairperson - NAMHSCA (National Association Mental Health Service Consumer Advisors).• Brief Background• • 1981 commenced training as an Ambulance Officer – Auckland. Career included working in Auckland, Canterbury, Midland and Otago• Graduated, Advanced Paramedic 1992, air medic specialist 1994• Graduated, Adult and Tertiary educator - AUT- 1991• Survivor of suicide –2001• Journey of recovery – 2001 ……………………. Next slide
  22. 22. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. If you ask what is the greatest thing in the world? I will tell you He tangata, he tangata, he tangata It is people, people, people
  23. 23. Debate Informal debate affirmative v negative “Txt councilling can really help”• 3 speakers A=2 min – B = 2min – C =3min • Total 7 min per team*• 5 minute preparation• 15 minute Debate*• Debate result as defined by judging panel
  24. 24. Contact Details• Graham Roper P.O Box 13077 Green Island Dunedin New Zealand•• 0064 03 488 5994• – Copyright 2006 – International patent treaty rights – nz registered patent no.536033