Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds in the state of Oregon and after two young suicides recently rocked the Central Oregon community, the Bend-La Pine School District pushed up the release date of an app that they’re hoping could save lives.
In light of recent events involving the deaths of two students at Summit and Redmond high schools earlier this month the Bend-La Pine School District is aiming to prevent any other young adult from taking their own life. Just before students left for the winter break, the school district rolled out the app “First Step,” which aims to help students dealing with stressful situations, depressive or suicidal thoughts.
“First Step” provides resources for students who may need an outlet for discussion by connecting them to non-profits like lines for life, which allows students to communicate face to face, thought text or e-mail.
It also provides a link to “youth line,” a non-profit that connects students with other students to discuss problems they may currently be struggling with someone who understands. The app also provides students with tips on what to do when you’re feeling down as well as local organizations that provide free counseling.
Bend La-Pine schools’ Julianne Repman says that the school district wants “to open the door, and if someone has questions about suicide, we want to let them know they’re cared for and that they’ve been heard, and help them find assistance through a trusted adult or through one of the resources you’ll find here on this app.”
The school district says that the application was added to all iPads issued to around 11,000 sixth through 12th grade students. Students without a school-issued iPad and the general public can access First Step through the website firststeporegon.org.