Earlier this week, Attorney General Jim Hood launched an app for students struggling with depression, bullying, drug use, and other problems common among teens.
The “Students Against Violence” app is a place where students who are struggling with thoughts of suicide or are in a home where there is domestic violence can turn to local and national resources to help them through such situations. The app includes categories for depression/anxiety, self-harm, suicide prevention, youth drug abuse, bullying, school violence, teen dating violence, domestic violence, underage drinking, and electronic cigarettes.
“I know kids won’t go look at our office’s website for brochures that we have on these topics, so we decided an app like this would be a better way to reach them,” General Hood said. “I hope kids who don’t feel comfortable talking to someone in person about their problems will be able to use this as a first step, recognize their problem, and find a way to address it.”
The app, which is available for free download on iPhone and Android phones, breaks out the situations listed above into separate sections, describes what a person may feel, think, or experience during that scenario, explains warning signs to identify in yourself or others, and lists resources for more help, such as the Mississippi Department of Education’s “Connections” Hotline for school violence reporting or the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Helpline. The phones numbers are directly linked so the user can call from within the app.
“This information isn’t new, we’re just presenting it in a new way to students who do everything from the palm of their hand,” General Hood said. “I encourage teachers, school counselors, coaches, and anyone else who works with teenagers to encourage them to download this app. It could be the thing that prevents them from causing harm to themselves or others.”
“I am proud that General Hood and Mississippi are the first in the nation to provide this valuable resource, not only for Mississippi’s youth but for those who work with youth,” said Jason Foundation President Clark Flatt. “I am proud that so many of Mississippi’s state agencies lent their support to enable this app to address so many issues facing our youth.”
Judge Paul Summers, former Tennessee Attorney General, and member of the Jason Foundation Board of Directors, echoed his support.
“My friend, General Jim Hood, has implemented the first statewide program to save young lives in America,” Summers said. “This the first partnership between JFI and the attorney general of a state in our nation. I applaud Jim’s efforts, and we hope to implement similar programs in all AG offices around the nation.”
This project is a collaboration between General Hood and the Jason Foundation, with input from several state agencies and partners such as the Department of Mental Health, Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. The Jason Foundation, Inc. is a group dedicated to the prevention of the silent epidemic of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators, youth workers, and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.