CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Finding a mental health professional with the click of a button and from the privacy of a smartphone. It's a reality created through an app by a South Florida entrepreneur who understands the importance of using technology to connect.
Malik Leigh lost his nephew by suicide which helped spur his vision of the virtual healthcare software. He understands that sometimes in a crisis, its hard to get the treatment needed quickly.
If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.
"When you're going through a manic episode or an emergency you may not have the wherewithal to find a number, make the call, and make sure to get treatment," Leigh said. "We have that ability with this app and all you have to do is tap a button inside the app."
The software was created by WL WELL VHS to complement each state and city's 988 municipal suicide and mental health emergency dispatch system.
The emergency services beacon found within the app allows mental health responders to receive emergency calls. They can they transfer those calls to waiting mental health responders in the community.
Licensed clinical professional counselor Ashlie Cox told us this software is user-friendly and connects people immediately.
"As a society we must really take away the stigma with mental health especially with people of color and men," Cox said. "We need to be able to feel okay to get help. This app allows that with a bit of privacy."
The app is free and available now.