At CAMH, hope is in our DNA. So when Tim Rankin approached Nicole Thomson about an idea that would potentially save lives, they understood the importance and the potential impact of the project they were undertaking.
“Tim approached me to collaborate on exploring innovative solutions to prevent suicide,” says Nicole, Senior Director of Quality Innovation, Patient Safety & Experience. “We wanted to ensure that any ideas that were generated would be aligned with the broader patient safety goals at CAMH. This is how suicide safety planning became the area of focus for our submission for CAMH Innovation Day.”
The idea: to create a mobile safety planning app for patients and smartphone users that would provide people experiencing suicidal thoughts with the tools and resources to help keep them safe. For Tim, this was a personal endeavor as much as it was a professional one.
“My wife has suffered from depression and anxiety for many years,” he says. “One night she made a suicide attempt – thankfully, she survived. Her psychiatrist advised that she create a safety plan to identify personal warning signs, coping strategies, etc. that she could reference to help avoid a crisis or guide her through one. This was a bit of a relief for me, but the plan was on paper and I feared she might not have it with her when she needed it most.”
The initial team included, Tim, Operations Manager with CAMH’s IMG department, who would manage and oversee the submission, Nicole, who would provide the quality, patient safety and academic perspective, and IT Specialist Gurpal Bubbra, who would build the app. They spent time deciding on what tools to include, how it would work, and considered a phased approach to its continued development.