As if the shooting deaths at schools, churches and concerts weren’t enough to highlight the need for a way to report and address mental health issues, the attack by a former employee at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee, WI proves that it’s imperative.

The gunman took the lives of five of his former co-workers and his own, even as employees used email to alert officials and contact loved ones, hoping it wouldn’t be their last communication. Employees were notified via email of the danger and told to shelter in place.

Reports indicated the shooter had a silencer to delay awareness of his actions. No one can fully know the challenges that an individual is experiencing in their personal life or what the tipping point will be that propels them to violence.

An estimated 1 in 5 people has experienced a mental health condition. More than 115 million people in the U.S. live in a health professional shortage area where the ratio of mental health professionals to residents is 1 for every 30,000 residents. That number is larger in rural areas. Exacerbating the problem is the stigma surrounding mental health conditions and difficulty in getting health insurance companies to cover services.

The Texas Guardians App is an advanced technological solution that enables individuals to identify and bring attention to those that may need a mental health intervention. When activated, the App uses a single button to notify police and automatically performs multiple functions:

  • Immediately notifies the appropriate authorities

  • Issues an intra-facility notification

  • Alerts all users if a lockdown is initiated

  • Automatically dims the phone’s light to protect people in hiding

  • Silences the phone by placing it in vibrate mode

  • Activates the phone’s camera, enabling users to obtain a photo of the suspect if it’s safe to do so

The Texas Guardians App contains built-in alerts for:

  • Stop-the-bleed

  • Fire

  • Medical assistance

  • Rescue

  • Explosions

  • Suspicious activity

  • Report a bomb

  • Poisoning

  • Suicide

  • Death

  • Drugs

  • Disruptive customer

  • Disgruntled employee

Custom alerts can be created and it’s been tested and proven effective in mock drills under real life conditions. It works even if Internet service isn’t available. It can be up and running within a day and updates will continue to be made to adapt and meet future needs and challenges as they arise.

The lack of enough mental health professionals continues to decrease and the number of people in need of mental health services is increasing. The tragedy at Molson Coors highlights the danger. The Texas Guardians App can help individuals provide notifications about potentially dangerous people, situations and actions to help them manage their personal safety and assist in keeping their co-workers safe.