40. Preventing Suicide
The tenth leading cause of death in the world is suicide. Research shows that suicide is happening more and more each year. There are ways to determine who may be at risk of contemplating suicide, but it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint when someone attempts it. Research teams and Vanderbilt University and Harvard University are looking into ways that smartphones can help to identify risk factors for suicide and offer ways to step in to stop it.
In their studies, they are monitoring people who have a high risk of attempting suicide. They are asked to wear sensors to track activity and sleep levels as well as answer text messages sent to them throughout the day. The idea is that smartphone technology will be able to see patterns that humans are unable to. Then scientists can create programs designed to flag people who are at immediate risk of attempting suicide so they can get help.