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A new app aims to help prevent teen suicides

(WIBW/Danielle Martin)
(WIBW/Danielle Martin)(WIBW)
Published: Sep. 24, 2019 at 11:27 AM CDT
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The number of young people in Kansas who took their own lives last year jumped more than 50 percent compared to the previous year, according to

from the Kansas Child Death Review Board. It found 32 people 17 and under committed suicide in 2018, up from twenty.

To help reverse that trend, teens now have 24-hour access to mental health resources in the palm of their hand. The Family Service and Guidance Center partnered with 7 Cups, an online therapy and counseling site, to give teenagers a forum that could save lives.

After realizing the rising suicide rates, the Center wanted to impact the teen population in a positive way, Director of Quality and Outcomes of FSGC, Dr. Abby Callis explained.

Anyone between the ages of 13 to 18 can access a safe and confidential app to communicate with a trained listener.

"You have this individual who can provide you with good information that is reliable, that can give you resources, and they can talk you through making decisions about maybe I do need to talk to a therapist, or maybe, it's good enough to talk to someone who's listening to me," said Dr. Callis.

Teenagers can download the app on their smartphones or visit the

. From wellness tests to helpful exercises, teens can access a variety of resources with the touch of a button. They can login for free using the code, "TALK."

"It's very social media-est, so there are forums and different types of groups that they can be apart of. They can pick their listeners and young people have the ability to really tailor the program to fit them," said Dr. Callis.

The partnership with 7 Cups began in March and dozens of Shawnee county teens have already used it.

"I can see that it's being used and kids are texting in and they are downloading the app. We are really excited that young people have taken to this medium and we always want to be able to reach the people that we normally don't have access to," said Dr. Callis.

The 7 Cups app is available for iOS (

)and Android (

).

You can find more information on the Family Service and Guidance Center

.