Frequently Asked Questions

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Early Alert is a suicide/crisis prevention service. Early Alert checks in with individuals once a week using quick and discreet text messaging, and provides instant support as needed, including referrals to your institution's support resources and 24/7 live crisis counseling. Responses are aggregated into a real-time wellness dashboard to support data-guided wellness policies.

Early Alert can be used by is used by hospitals, clinics, colleges, universities, K-12 school districts, Veteran Serving Organizations, and any other organization wishing to proactively identify and support individual members who may be experiencing distress.

Connecting people in the early stages of distress with support resources can mitigate and reverse the distress. Preventing distress from growing and turning into a crisis is good for the individual receiving support and for the organization that serves individuals and relies on their productivity. For educational institutions, early identification of distress means less distracted students, better academic performance, higher retention, and fewer situations resulting in crisis. For employers, early identification of distress means fewer sick days, better work performance, and less turnover.

Many organizations offer a variety of support resources that employees or students don't utilize. Low utilization can be the result of multiple reasons, including not remembering that the support resources exist, not knowing at which point to connect with support resources, and not being sure how to initiate contact. Early Alert makes it easy for users to connect with the right support resource exactly when they need to, by providing them with contact information for the relevant support resources to the specific concern the user is facing.

We have found that users are more likely to respond and to respond honestly when they are not concerned that their information will be shared with their organization. All user responses are confidential. We do not report individual identifiable information back to the organization, except in situations involving a safety concern (potential risk to self or others). We only provide organizations with de-identified, aggregate data in the form of a wellness dashboard.

Early Alert is not an app. We communicate with our users via text messaging, which is a natural and smooth form of communication that most of us respond to very quickly. This means that there is no app to install, operate, or update. If you can use text messaging, you can use Early Alert.

Early Alert is proactive. Whereas many apps or websites offer self-screening tools that people can use(if they remember to do it, and if they make the time to do it), Early Alert proactively reaches out to users in order to ask how they are. This results in very high response rates and a much better chance of catching someone in early stages of distress, rather than after things have already gotten bad.

Setting up Early Alert requires approximately 30 minutes of administrative time. This is used to map wellness domains we assess to your support resources.

Running Early Alert requires no administrative time. The system runs automatically. You have ongoing access to a live dashboard, which you can utilize whenever you wish.

The best way to understand our check-ins is to complete a demo check-in. It takes less than a minute - give it a try!

A check-in is typically a single question about a particular wellness domain (such as Financial Wellness or Social Wellness). Individuals rate their wellness on a scale of 0-10. When responses suggest a wellness challenge, Early Alert will instantly offer support resources, including referrals to institutional resources and 24/7 live crisis counseling.

Check-ins are fast, discreet, and unobtrusive. Use this link to try an example check-in.

By default, we check in with users once a week. Like every part of Early Alert, the frequency of check-ins can be customized based on your preferences.

We send a single "nudge" after a couple of hours, to remind people to answer the question in case they were busy when we sent the original check-in. We do not send additional nudges, in order to maintain a positive (rather than nagging) relationship with our subscribers. If we do not hear back from a subscriber after a nudge, we will check in with them at the regularly scheduled time for the next check-in.

Early Alert assesses all facets of wellness, including mental health, physical health, relational health, spiritual health, and financial health, to name a few. When we start working together, we will share our complete list of domains with you, and we can add or remove domains based on the needs of your organization.

Early Alert provides a variety of support resources for individuals who are facing wellness challenges, including the following:

Institutional Support Resources. Early Alert will offer specific resources, based on a resource map we create with the institution, providing students with specific phone numbers, Websites, email addresses, etc., in order to facilitate easy access for the students.

Self-Help Micro-Interventions. Early Alert will also provide self-help micro-interventions that are related to the challenge that individuals are facing, such as information about sleep hygiene, budgeting worksheets, a recording of a progressive muscle relaxation exercise, etc.

Live Counseling. When Early Alert identifies individuals experiencing a higher level of distress, a live counselor will reach to the individual to offer support and help create a plan for involving additional support resources.

Outreach Recommendations. Early Alert will occasionally notify institutions about individuals that could benefit from additional support. Early Alert does not provide any information beyond the identity of the individual, in order to ensure privacy.

When we set up Early Alert with your organization, we will ask you to provide support resources for each of the wellness domains we assess. If your organization does not provide support resources for particular wellness domains, we can help you identify external support resources that we have vetted for quality.

Early Alert offers 24/7 live crisis counseling as needed, but is not meant to offer an ongoing therapeutic relationship.

Early Alert is fully customizable to meet your organization's needs. We will gladly customize the specific wellness domains we assess, the support resources we suggest, the frequency of check-ins, and the demographic data we collect in order to construct your wellness dashboard.

Individuals scan a QR code that is unique to their organization, and complete registration on their organization's web portal.


Registration takes about 1 minute, during which users provide their name and phone number, answer some demographic questions, and agree to Early Alert's terms of service.

Early Alert collects a large amount of data from users and aggregates it into a Wellness Dashboard that your organization can use to identify patterns and clusters of distress. Aggregate data are de-identified.

You can analyze the data based on demographic variables such as gender, ethnic background, and location. We will gladly include additional variables based on your needs (for example, specific divisions within your organization), as long as adding those variables will not make it possible to determine the identity of individual users.

The Wellness Dashboard can help you identify patterns and clusters of distress, thereby guiding your wellness work. For example, you may learn that your female Hispanic employees have been reporting increasing levels of distress over the past 2 months, and consequently investigate the possible causes and/or assign additional wellness resources to support them.

Early Alert is NOT an emergency response system.

Early Alert monitors all incoming messages with the aid of live counselors, 24/7/365. However, we cannot guarantee a review and a response within a specific amount of time, and our counselors are not connected to an emergency dispatch.

Therefore, in the event of a medical emergency or an immediate safety concern, it is always best to call 911 or a relevant hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988).

Early Alert is NOT an emergency response system.

Early Alert monitors all incoming messages with the aid of live counselors, 24/7/365. However, we cannot guarantee a review and a response within a specific amount of time, and our counselors are not connected to an emergency dispatch.

Therefore, in the event of a medical emergency or an immediate safety concern, it is always best to call 911 or a relevant hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988).

If individuals provide information that suggests a potential safety concern, Early Alert will respond with a suggestion for the individual to contact 911 or their local organizational safety department. An Early Alert crisis counselor will attempt to contact the individual and, if necessary, initiate a physical wellness check based on a protocol that was agreed upon in advance with the institution.

Many leading organizations offer online self-screening tools, with clear disclaimers noting that they are not a substitute for consulting a professional, that they are not an appropriate method of initiating emergency care, and that users experiencing safety concerns should contact 911 and/or other emergency resources (such as the Jed Foundation's U Lifeline and the District of Columbia Bar Association). Early Alert follows the same best practices.

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