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This story was originally published on the Atrium Health Daily Dose.

“A split second could change the path of everything. It only takes a moment to realize there is hope.” Calvin Harvel, peer support specialist at Atrium Health Behavioral Health Charlotte, shared these words to explain the driving force behind the new Click2Live initiative.

Two years ago, Harvel began working with the Zero Suicide Program team with Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services to create Click2Live. “We all have thoughts running through our brains,” he explained. “Click2Live can be used as a distraction to redirect our negative thoughts, getting us out of the moment and giving us a critical second to shift gears.”

Harvel spent several months ordering and testing devices that provided various types of momentary distractions. He selected a simple device that delivers a loud clicking sound – something that he strongly believes has the potential to save lives.*

What motivated Harvel to help others? “The suicide of a dear friend named Renee was my inspiration for this initiative,” he explained. “Maybe if Renee had a simple distraction in those last few critical moments of her life, everything would have changed for her that day. It only takes a moment – just a click – to make a different choice.”

Zero Suicide Program

Click2Live is part of Atrium Health’s Zero Suicide Program. Launched in early 2019, this program encourages providers throughout the hospital to be on the lookout for patients with suicidal thoughts. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • Withdrawing from activities and/or isolating from family and friends.
  • Experiencing changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Increasing use of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Talking about death or wanting to die.
  • Talking about feeling depressed, hopeless or burdensome to others.
  • Saying goodbye and/or giving away possessions.

“Our goal is to wrap our arms around our patients and support them even after they’re discharged,” relayed Kate Penny, LCMHC, Zero Suicide Program coordinator with Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services. “We follow high-risk patients and contact them within 24 hours of discharge. We even send caring cards to their homes, so they know someone cares and they’re not alone.”

The Zero Suicide Program includes education and training to help Atrium Health teammates learn what questions to ask and how to work with those having suicidal thoughts. “Whether a patient visits a provider in acute care, primary care or behavioral health, we want to help them overcome negative thinking and prevent suicide,” explained Penny. “This prevents them from falling through the cracks.”

“Especially now with the pandemic, we need to be asking important behavioral health questions while decreasing the stigma around talking about suicide,” Penny added. “If you’re not doing well and you need help, talking about your feelings can really make a difference.”

When Penny first heard about Harvel’s clicker, she thought it was an amazing idea. “It’s the kind of support we want to give to the entire community of Charlotte,” she said. “We want to help as many people as we can to redirect negative thoughts.”

Thought stopping

“I’m not going to get through this.”

“Things will never improve.”

“My problems are a burden to others.”

“What’s the point of living?”

Regardless of your age or background, these thoughts can get your mind into a downward spiral of negative thinking.

Thought stopping is a cognitive technique that involves identifying and stopping unwanted thoughts. Experts suggest a variety of ways to stop negative thoughts, including visualizing a stop sign, clapping your hands or shouting “STOP!” Then, it’s important to replace the negative thought with a positive one.

“The Click2Live device helps disrupt negative thoughts by engaging multiple senses,” explained Penny. “First, you have to physically hold the clicker. Then, you have to push the button to generate the clicking sound. Finally, your ears hear the click. This process can really ground you and pull you out of the downward spiral of negative thinking.”

Thought stopping, like with the Click2Live device, can distract you from negative thoughts related to:

  • Suicide
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Anger
  • Self-harm
  • Alcohol and substance use

Mindful awareness

“The more hands we can get these into, the more we increase the mindful awareness of ourselves and the people around us,” explained Harvel. “If we hear a click, we’ll look around for that person to make sure they’re ok and offer help.”

Harvel has already distributed hundreds of clickers throughout Atrium Health Behavioral Health Charlotte and the psychiatric emergency department. He said that the device has captured the attention of the people around him and has received a very positive response.

Along with the clicker, Atrium Health Behavioral Health Services will be providing a brochure that explains how Click2Live works and how to contact someone for help. As this initiative grows throughout our facilities, along with our Zero Suicide Program, clickers will be handed out to behavioral health patients upon discharge.

If you or someone you know needs mental health crisis assistance, call Atrium Health’s Behavioral Health Help Line at 704-444-2400 for 24/7 support.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 service at 1-800-273-8255.

*Disclaimer: This clicker is not meant to replace emergency services. Please call 911 if you or someone you know is attempting suicide.

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