“We help schools keep their students safe. That’s the best way to describe our mission.” Violence and mental health issues are running out of control in schools across our nation. There’s not a day that passes without news of a major safety incident, and we often don’t hear about the mental health concerns. STOPit Solutions isn’t simply a technology company, it is a group of safety and wellness professionals on a mission to support and transform climate and culture in our schools.
STOPit was founded in 2014 with a vision to fight cyberbullying and empower students to do their part to stop individuals from harming themselves and others. The company has evolved over the years, beginning as a single product offering, and growing into a comprehensive safety and wellness solution, with world-class resources that create safer, better connected, and healthier learning and living environments. Today, STOPit Solutions proudly partners with more than 8,000 schools and organizations, delivering innovative solutions that protect and save lives daily.
“Impact drives who we are, what we create, and how we operate,” shares Parkhill Mays, CEO at STOPit Solutions. “Our team members are driven by a desire to save and protect lives through each and every action they take with our audience.
More Than Just an App
In its early days, STOPit revolved around its technology: an app that helped curb bullying in schools. HELPme, a comprehensive wellness solution for K-12 Schools, came about more recently and is now in more than 1,000 schools and growing fast.
The process begins through partnership with a motivated school or school district. After planning and onboarding, the STOPit team assists school partners with launch which can range from interactive videos in home room to a well-orchestrated live event with press coverage. Launch is essentially introducing this life-saving solution to students, staff, and families to establish a community approach and support structure for managing today’s most visible concerns in and around school and young people.
Normalizing Asking for Help
“The STOPit team monitors, measures, and maintains a culture of safety and well-being.” Parkhill adds: “We instill a spirit of awareness across schools by stressing that it’s OK to ask for or seek help or tell someone when you or a friend or classmate is in trouble.” In fact, bystander reporting – or Upstanders as STOPit refers – is the most common and effective form of reporting and awareness on its network. STOPit’s team operates 24/7/365. as problems unfortunately do not keep a normal schedule and are rarely convenient.
“Students come to school with much more than the capacity to learn; their backpacks are full of challenges we can’t see,” states Parkhill. “We need to normalize asking for help – and STOPit and our engaging solutions are the empowering tools.”
The app itself is a highly configurable mobile platform designed specifically for the schools it serves. It is not a one size fits all solution and must be localized to provide the best protection and value. It is also far beyond simple reporting – there are engagement resources built all through the solution and plenty of methods for communicating in the manner most comfortable to the user.
No Waiting Games
In 2018, the company introduced its Crisis Center. Essentially, when a student has a concern or is in distress, he, she, or they can reach out via the STOPit or HELPme App, or via Chromebook or phone. The Crisis Center reviews the message right away, assessing all information and intervenes in emergencies – immediately – as many of these situations cannot wait until the next school day. “If there is an emergent situation overnight or anytime, whether it be a safety situation, suicide ideation or self-harm, the Crisis Center intervenes immediately,” explains Parkhill. “We route these situations to someone who can help right away. We don’t wait for the next day because sometimes these problems don’t wait.”
And, while bullying remains a problem in schools, STOPit has evolved to keep up with the times. During the COVID-19 pandemic social isolation became the norm and students were forced to stay home for months without interaction with friends. The result unfortunately was stress, anxiety, and mental health issues occurring at a level never seen before among students.
Post-COVID mental health issues have more than tripled for young people. And mental health events requiring emergency services have more than doubled. STOPit’s crisis team offers immediate support and attention to these life-threatening situations – all hours of the day and night, including holidays and summer breaks. “We like to think that we make a difference by doing our part to avert potential tragedies and also afford educators time to focus on the business of educating kids,” Parkhill asserts.
Safety needs are growing, and technology is changing at unprecedented speeds. Customers can rely on STOPit Solutions for innovative solutions that continually serve the education world and their communities.