MONROE, WISCONSIN – Jacob’s SWAG Foundation, Inc. has just released “Got Your Back”, a smartphone and tablet app to help prevent suicide and self-harm by individuals in mental or emotional crisis. The app is targeted to teens but can be used by anyone.
“SWAG” stands for Support With Awareness and Giving. The group was started by Teri and Kurt Ellefson of Monroe after they lost their 14-year-old son Jacob to suicide in 2012. “In the past, our group has brought motivational speakers to local schools to present programs about self-esteem, making good life choices, and discouraging bullying” says Teri Ellefson. “However, rather than engaging with kids for just a limited amount of time, we wanted to create something that could always be with kids, wherever they go. With almost all teenagers having internet access through a smartphone or tablet, we felt an app was the best way to do that.”
The app gives users who may be feeling anxious, depressed, or unsafe an instant connection to help. Calls to 9-1-1 as well as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline are just one touch away. Those preferring to text can send a one-touch text to the National Crisis Text Hotline. The app also has a “My Squad” feature, in which users can send prewritten messages to up to three support people chosen by them.
Users are encouraged to create a personal safety plan within the app. Calming activities are included, such as deep breathing, visualization, and refocusing exercises. The app also contains links to area mental health resources and organizations. The app’s goal is to quickly get help and support to individuals in crisis and to prevent suicide and self-harm.
The release of the “Got Your Back” app is the culmination of over a year of work and was made possible by generous public donations. Synqronus (SYNC-ro-nuss) Communications of Monroe and Computer Know How of Brodhead, Wisconsin handled the app’s technical development. “Got Your Back” is free and available now in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store.
Jacob’s SWAG Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing suicide and fostering positive self-esteem and respect for others, especially in our young people. For more information, please visit its website at jacobsswag.org.