Samaritans suspends controversial “Samaritans Radar” app

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6pm on a Friday is a great time to bury bad news – which is why Samaritans has finally said announced that it is pulling its controversial Radar app “for further consideration”. Here’s the statement in full.

Joe Ferns, Executive Director of Policy, Research & Development said:

Following the broad range of feedback and advice Samaritans has received since the launch of the Samaritans Radar app on 29 October 2014, including the serious concerns raised by some people with mental health conditions using Twitter, we have made the decision to suspend the application at this time for further consideration.

We care passionately about supporting vulnerable people in a range of ways, and know it is important we get Samaritans Radar right.

Our primary concern is for anyone who may be struggling to cope, including those with mental health conditions. We are very aware that the range of information and opinion, which is circulating about Samaritans Radar, has created concern and worry for some people and would like to apologise to anyone who has inadvertently been caused any distress. This was not our intention. However there is still an important need which we have identified to find ways to support vulnerable people online, including those young people the app was primarily aimed at. We would also like to recognise and thank those who have shown support for the app.

We will use the time we have now to engage in further dialogue with a range of partners, including in the mental health sector and beyond in order to evaluate the feedback and get further input. We will also be testing a number of potential changes and adaptations to the app to make it as safe and effective as possible for both subscribers and their followers.

Samaritans has a history of innovating to meet the challenges of providing a safe, relevant and effective service to all those we exist to support and we will continue to do this and learn from the work we do.

This news comes more than a week after the initial backlash and days of awkward silence.

Read More: Why Samaritans Radar reminds us that we can’t control our data.

James O’Malley