Cyber safety expert develops life-saving technology to prevent suicide


Alice Hendy, Cyber Safety Specialist at QBE tragically lost her brother, Josh, on the 25th November 2020 from suicide. Josh was her only sibling and was 21 years of age.

After examining Josh’s phone and laptop following his death, Alice found that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life via internet searches, suicide forums and video tutorials.

Armed with this information Alice set about developing a tool to provide assistance to those contemplating suicide. 

Introducing R;pple

Background - Suicide related internet searches - The scale of Problem

  • There are 1.2 million internet searches for ways to take your own life every month
  • Searches for suicide methods have increased by 50% in the last 2 years
  • Searches for suicidal thoughts have increased by 23% in the last 2 years
  • Searches for suicide hotlines have increased by 125% since January 2019

The content available online following a search of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format: a helpline.

Alice’s solution

Alice’s day job involves working in IT and Cyber Security, with experience in working for global financial institutions and insurance firms in the city of London.

To ensure more help and support is given to individuals in mental health crisis and searching for harmful content online, Alice set up R;pple to provide people with a voice, choice, empowerment, and control at a time when they are most vulnerable.

What is R;pple?

R;pple is an intervention tool when someone searches for harmful online content, rather than just a phone number. It provides an immediate interception on a user’s device once they have been flagged, consisting of a powerful message of hope and a selection of mental health support resources in a range of different communication options (call, text, webchat, self-help app, and pocket resources).

The reasons why people choose suicide are often complex, and people must take practical actions to end their own lives. If suicide is a practical act, then we need practical solutions to prevent it from happening; R;pple is a vital and practical tool which achieves that aim. In a moment of crisis, anything that offers hope or an alternative to someone considering suicide must be considered very seriously.

The Research

R;pple has been created with evidence and research in mind at every stage. To develop the content of the message and select the resources that feature on the R;pple tool, the team worked in collaboration with mental health clinicians, professionals, NHS representatives, lived experience panels and the public.

When will R;pple be available?

R;pple launched as a ‘browser extension’ 10th September 2021 (World Suicide Prevention Day) and is available to download onto your laptop or desktop now.

The Impact

Through R;pple, an individual feeling despair and researching harmful content will be urged to instead seek mental health support they deserve and need in a way that works best for them.

  • To date, R;pple has been downloaded over 25,000 times in a matter of weeks, with schools, colleges, universities, parents, carers and charities able to download R;pple, free of charge (charitable donation required from businesses)
  • 21 individuals have approached R;pple to inform us that the tool intercepting them online at their most vulnerable point has saved their life and that they are now receiving mental health support
  • R;pple has been shortlisted for 8 awards in the IT, technology and mental health space, after only officially launching in September 2021
  • R;pple has gained significant UK media coverage, reaching over 8.5 million people and appearing on national television, radio and press

How can I download R;pple?

R;pple is available to download onto your laptop or desktop as a ‘browser extension’. This can be done as an individual or as an organisation by installing the extension on all managed devices within your workspace.

CLICK HERE to visit the page on the R;pple website for details about downloading the necessary browser extenion.

How you can Support R;pple

As a newly formed charitable organisation, you can support R;pple in the following ways:

  • Promote R;pple to your local schools, colleges, universities, parents and individuals to download R;pple for free
  • Integrate R;pple within your organisation and contribute to lifesaving development of the R;pple technlogy by liasing with your wellbeing, HR and IT teams (charitable subscription fee required, bespoke rates available)
  • Incorporate R;pple in any internal and external communications and marketing (including social media promotion where possible)
  • Introduce R;pple to any mental health/wellbeing partnerships you have in place