App helps Oxford County youth create crisis plan

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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



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