Man Who Almost Killed Himself Is Developing App To Help People With Depression
A few years ago, Colin Radcliffe was stood on the railing of a motorway bridge, looking down at the passing cars below, thinking about taking his life.
Colin, from Ashton-under-Lyne, UK, saw his own mental health deteriorate unexpectedly after he and his wife had their first child together, Jack.
Speaking to LADbible, he said: "I found myself just literally sat on the settee looking at him and getting very emotional for no reason whatsoever - which was really strange for me to be honest, because everybody had always said I wasn't emotional.
"Once I'd gone into therapy what was established was that having Jack had reminded me of my childhood and the abuse I'd suffered."
But after the 44-year-old was originally diagnosed with depression and anxiety, he resisted getting the help he needed, instead determining that his problems were all in his own head, and as such, he could get over them on his own too.
He said: "When I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety I didn't really understand what that meant, but what I really did understand was the stigma attached and I decided to get on with it myself rather than admitting I was struggling."
However, 'getting on with it' did nothing to ease Radcliffe's sorrow and he was driven right to the very brink of taking his own life.
He said: "One day at work, I went on my dinner, got halfway across a motorway bridge, and for me that was it.
"There was a part of me that actually looked and I saw the cars passing underneath and it was almost like I thought, 'I bet they've got somewhere to go, I bet they're happy'. It just sort of hit me at that time how unhappy I was making everyone around me
"I had my foot on the bottom railing, my hands were gripping the top railing and to me that was it, it was over. I'm fortunate that - and when my son is older he will know - he walked on that bridge that particular day, took my hand and walked me off it. He saved my life that day."
Radcliffe subsequently decided to attend group therapy sessions, and it was there that the idea for DEpressOn was born.
He said: "The openness we found by just talking to each other within that group, the humour, the out-of-group support we were giving each other, that gave me the idea for the app.
"We were recommended several apps within the group and everyone just felt the same: they were clinical, they were sterile, they were made by someone who is trying to force upon us what they were telling us we needed, rather than asking us what we wanted.
"I came up with the idea and mentioned it within the group and it sort of took me aback how much people were like, 'wow, what a great idea, what a great way of doing it'.
"The simplicity of the app is it's just helping people to monitor themselves, but then open that up to other people and that support network."
The app comprises a number of sections designed to help open about how they are feeling with others. Users can choose a weather symbol to indicate how they are feeling, enabling their nearest dearest - as well as total strangers - to reach out and offer support.
A section where people log their moods will enable them to identify patterns and potential triggers, while a personalised 'crisis letter' comprising messages, pictures and videos is there to comfort users in time of need - with designated 'buddies' alerted if the crisis letter is accessed.
It will also be the first wellbeing app with a verification process, which will eliminate trolls and the like.
The app is now in the latter stages of development, having been built in partnership with numerous organisations, as well as doctors, psychiatrists and people with depression - and is now £75,000 short of completion, which is relatively little given how far the app has come.
Once complete, Mr Radcliffe plans to make the app available as cheaply as possible. Having come back from rock bottom, he is now closer than ever to his wife, with whom he now has a second child, Poppy. He hopes DEpressON can help prevent other families from being torn apart, like his so nearly was.
He said: "From my own selfish point of view, I'm doing this for Jack and Poppy, because I never want them walking on a bridge like I did, feeling that they're alone and they couldn't reach out.
"I want to make sure that nobody can't have this app, and that's what we're trying to do. It's not a money-making machine to me, it's something I know I needed, it's something that would have helped me and my family."
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