Be Safe app helps lo­cal youth

App helps Ox­ford County youth pre­pare cri­sis plan

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - BRUCE CHES­SELL bches­sell@post­media.com

The Wood­stock Hos­pi­tal and lo­cal men­tal health ser­vices are en­cour­ag­ing youth to Be Safe this year by down­load­ing a free app.

The Be Safe app helps young peo­ple pre­pare their cri­sis safety plan, con­nect­ing them with lo­cal men­tal health and ad­dic­tion re­sources in their com­mu­nity.

The app guides users through the process of cre­at­ing a plan for when they are in cri­sis and em­pow­ers its users to reach out safely to lo­cal re­sources.

Liz Wiser-Van Meer, com­mu­ni­ca­tions as­sis­tant for Com­mu­nity Em­ploy­ment Ser­vices (CES), said the app was in­tro­duced to Ox­ford County in March af­ter a se­ries of youth sui­cides that shocked the com­mu­nity.

“There used to be the Lit­tle Black Book in Ox­ford County and af­ter the cri­sis that oc­curred here in 2016 there was a call for some­thing like that to be avail­able for use,” Wis­mer-Van Meer said. “We knew that they wouldn’t want to be car­ry­ing around a lit­tle black book any­more, so af­ter some look­ing around and some re­search­ing we dis­cov­ered this app.”

The app has been avail­able prov­ince-wide since 2014 af­ter it was de­vel­oped by MindYourMind and was avail­able for li­cenc­ing in com­mu­ni­ties. CES paid to have the app li­cenced in Ox­ford County ear­lier this year.

“We’ve been around to the high schools, set­ting up dis­plays and chat­ting with the stu­dents and staff,” the com­mu­ni­ca­tions as­sis­tant said. “They’re all em­brac­ing it re­ally well, same with some of the lo­cal com­mu­nity part­ners and the hos­pi­tal.”

The app is avail­able in 25 com­mu­ni­ties in On­tario and there is a provincial-wide ver­sion that can con­nect peo­ple with provincial ser­vices.

“If you are not in Ox­ford County when you need the help of the app, it is GPS com­pat­i­ble,” Wis­mer-Van Meen said. “So if one of the other com­mu­ni­ties has the app, or if not you’re still go­ing to get the provincial-wide or­ga­ni­za­tions that are avail­able to you.

“So at no time are you not with­out that as­sis­tance,” she added. “It doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence where you are be­cause of the GPS com­pata­bil­ity.”

Be Safe is avail­able on An­droid, IOS and on­line at www.mindyourmind.ca.

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