KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Technology is making a big difference.
Kansas City's law enforcement community says the use of P3, a mobile application, is saving teenagers lives, many of whom intended to take their own lives.
P3 provides teenagers a means of anonymously reporting instances where a schoolmate may be in need of help preventing suicide.
It`s cause for cautious celebration. Nearly three years ago, the Kansas City Crime Commission began pushing its P3 app to students at schools like Staley High, which is one of 70 metro schools where the app is being promoted to young people.
Since January 2017, app administrators said its use led to saving the lives of 13 teenagers at various local high schools, some of whom, according to Crime Commission leaders, were in the act of taking their own lives when help arrived.
"Suicide is an issue presently, and it continues to rise," said Kevin Boehm, who manages P3 for the Kansas City Crime Commission. "Students definitely know when their friends are in trouble."
When a teenager goes to the mobile app on their cell phone, they're able to send in information about people in need of immediate help. Tipsters can also attach photos or videos. All of that information is sent to internal contacts at each student's school.
"We`re very pleased that students have been reporting this information and getting help to other students who are in trouble and in crisis," Boehm said.
Thousands of metro teenagers have access to cell phones, and posters found in many metro high schools encourage them to download the P3 app.
Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Thomas is Staley High's school resource officer. While he didn't speak specifically about Staley High, he said he appreciates the app because it gives adults one more means of helping kids.
"I've seen some kids, and you know they`re struggling," Thomas said. "(Students who've used to app) did like the response time when they did to make a tip. They like the response time from the admin to check out the tip. I think that`s a big reason the app works so well."
"We hear of others that have occurred and we wonder why we were utilized in in those situations. We have a long way to go. 13 is a significant number," Boehm added.
Boehm said this struggle is ongoing. Those 13 teenagers lives were saved through anonymous tips to the app, and sadly, suicide prevention specialists are confident more will come.
He said the bright side is that means more opportunities to save young lives.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
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