I was thinking about how useful the “help I've fallen and I can't get up” button is for senior citizens. If you're unfamiliar, it's a physical button worn on a lanyard. Once pressed, it will notify family and medical people that the owner has fallen (and may not be able to get up or get to a phone). Soon after pressing, help will be on its way. It could be a life saver.
I was also thinking about mental health, in particular suicide and suicidal thoughts. There have been a number of high profile celebrity deaths recently. I've also had a couple of close friends take their own lives. I think about the moments before they make that last decision, if the decision could be delayed, the moment may pass.
In the wake of the widely reported suicides, I've seen numerous posts on FaceBook along the lines of, “No matter what time day or night, if you need to talk, I'm here for you, even if we haven't spoken in years.”
As well meaning as this is, I wonder, once the darkest of clouds descend in the middle of the night if one has the presence of mind to think “I'll call so and so”. I'd imagine that person may feel shame and self hatred. Sometimes, communicating this kind of pain in words is difficult, if not impossible.
Suicide Panic Button (SPB)
So, I'd like to propose a Suicide Panic Button. It would be discrete, perhaps housed within a ring or Amazon Dash type device.
Simply press the button to automatically send a series of pre-written messages assigned to specific numbers. For example it may:
- Text friends and family “Hey, I'm having a bit of a moment, give me a quick call please." I mentioned it may be difficult to pick up the phone and talk but perhaps the phone ringing will jolt the mind to a different space. Plus it can be easier to answer a call than make it.
- Notify a therapist or other mental health professional (“I'm in trouble, please help”)
- It could even order from your favorite delivery service - it's a long shot, but perhaps if you know a delicious Pad Thai is on its way, you may give yourself a little more time, change your mind state for just long enough to allow the dark clouds to pass or the black dog to sniff at the next fire hydrant….
With the SPB, there is no need to get the phone and think about who to call and what to say, how to say it…there's no extra mental pressure .just press the button and try to stay around a bit longer.
I don't see this as a commercial venture although production costs would have to be covered. Perhaps the little buttons are sold via mental health charities and their supporters? Some of the money from purchase can go to support the work these groups do.