An app created to stop bullying in schools has been rebranded and expanded to help prevent suicides and connect struggling students with support services.
Formerly known as the STOPit app, SAFE DE has two new sections: a crisis text line and a resources tab.
The STOPit app originally came to Appo in 2019.
“STOPit does not go away, but it’s expanded, and it’s not only expanded within the app, it’s now statewide,” said Tom Poehlmann, Appo’s director of safety, security and operations. “We can still report things like bullying, but now it expands into the mental health and wellness aspects.”
The three main features of SAFE DE are:
- Ask for Help, which can be used to anonymously request help from local school contacts, including anonymous two-way communication with school contacts and students.
- Crisis Text Line, which can be accessed directly from the app to text with non-local trained crisis counselors.
- Get Resources, which can be used to search community, local, state, and federal resources and helplines.
A representative from the National Crisis Text Line will respond immediately 24/7 every day of the year, including holiday breaks or the summer months when students are home from school.
Student mental health increasingly became a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, Poehlmann said.
Suicide rates are rising among America’s youth, and Poehlmann pointed out suicide or suicide attempts are especially prevalent among young males.
“It’s just something that people don’t like to talk about, so it’s sort of a hidden kind of thing,” he said. “There’s a crisis line for those at risk and those going through some struggles to get help, because besides reporting bullying, it’s also important to ask for help.”
Students who are worried about friends or family members can anonymously contact support as well to get resources for them.
A group of about 20 students were in the audience to learn about the app’s rebranding, and all of their hands shot up when asked if they were well-versed or used the STOPit app.
“We want to emphasize that as you guys go forth and talk about this, and we need you to encourage people to download the app, remove STOPit and add SAFE DE, that you can talk about the added features,” Poehlmann said, “but what’s important to me is what you’re used to in the STOPit app does not go away, that is still there.”
The app is available for iPhone and Android mobile phones.
Kristine Peters, Appo’s equity, climate and wellness coordinator, said the district’s students can submit a help report for people from other districts.
“It’s to help anyone in the community,” she said, “and even though the report is anonymous, it does allow for some two-way communication so that we can get the important information and make sure they can get the supports to the person that you’re concerned about.”
The app is for all grade levels, even Appo’s early childhood centers and preschools.
Danielle Pro-Hudson, Appo’s public information officer, said other districts have been using the STOPit app, and some are now in the process of onboarding the revamped SAFE DE app.
There’s also resources for students experiencing homelessness or food insecurity.
If a student doesn’t want to directly speak with someone, there are guides that they read that give tips on how to deal with stress, anxiety and other mental health burdens.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
Share this Post