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Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

Better awareness of support options for people in the real world who need to talk to someone about something that is troubling them. If someone can get help for something, hopefully they can be supported there without it ending up on a medium as public as social media.

 

Personally, if I knew an adult/other suitable person in real life who would be able to help the person, I'd contact them using any available means. I've spoken to teachers a few times after seeing social media posts, and the teachers quickly got the person the apporiate support. If it warranted it, I would possibly call 000 if someones life was in immediate danger.

 

These people generally want help in my opinion. Social Media can provide a less confronting way of someone getting help as they dont need to speak to a person, but can get the same effect as speaking to a person by using social media.

 

When these posts occur, support should be given both on social media and discreetly in the real world (unless it's needed to tell parents to stop harm occuring). Keeping it online, while it would provide someone a lot of privacy, would hide their body language and other keys that could in this sort of situation give experts a bit more of an idea on what is really going on. Some way needs to be found IMO to give help discreetly in the real world after inital contact possibly on social media/the web.

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

Question THREE



What could be put in place to reduce the risk of young people talking about suicide on social media?
I think posts about topics like suicide and self harm are always going to happen.. I think it's more important to focus on the responses that are given, than to try and 'gatekeep' and stop it from happening.


Assuming you were a young person reading a post that mentioned suicide on social media, what kind of action would you take?

If I knew the person outside of social media, I would contact them via other means.. like message or call them.. or even fb chat them. I'd do it away from the original post, to take it out of the public arena. I think that helps let the person know that I actually really care about them, and really want to help them. I'd tell them they can speak openly and privately to me, if they needed/wanted to.


What kind of response would you expect from a social media channel?

I've learnt not to expect any response, because then I don't feel disappointed or 'unloved' when I see there's 0 comments, likes or replies.

In terms of the social media platform itself, I'd expect different things depending on where I posted. For example, I wouldn't expect anyone from facebook management or anything to respond to a worrying post... but I would expect someone to respond with a supportive message on the ReachOut forums because thats the kind of place it is..

What do young people expect from processes put in place to deal with this? What should the extent of the mitigation/intervention be?’ (i.e. how far should the intervention go, should parents/police get involved, or should it stay online?)

Ohhh gosh. This is a super hard one!! It's different depending on what head space you're in!
In terms of friends, I think that the more personal the post is to me, from that person, the more likely I am to take my response further. Eg, if it was a really good friend, and I had seen them a few days earlier and knew they werent doing well, then saw a post on fb or something that they were feeling even worse, I'd do more than if it was a distant aquaintance I'd never actually met in person.. Hope that makes sense!

As for organisations' responses, I expect them to be upfront with me. And I hope they would ALWAYS be unfront and transparent. If I know what they can/ can't do, or will/won't do, then I know what to expect from them, nothing more nothing less. Saves expectations being too high, causing disappointment etc.

I think transparency is the key, particularly with young people. If we know the boundaries upfront, we'll probably respond better. I know I would!


Sorry this is so long!

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

Hey everyone, just a reminder about question three - it's a BUMPER question but it's super important. Hopefully you're all typing away, so I might post this reminder and leave this one for a few more minutes… you're all doing great! =D

 

 

Re-post: Question THREE

 

What could be put in place to reduce the risk of young people talking about suicide on social media?

 

Assuming you were a young person reading a post that mentioned suicide on social media, what kind of action would you take?

 

What kind of response would you expect from a social media channel?

 

What do young people expect from processes put in place to deal with this? What should the extent of the mitigation/intervention be?’ (i.e. how far should the intervention go, should parents/police get involved, or should it stay online?)

 

Don't feel like you have to answer every question - even just one, or some, is okay! =)

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

 

Assuming you were a young person reading a post that mentioned suicide on social media, what kind of action would you take?

._. If I know you well, for example 5 years +, my actions may vary but I specifically cater for their needs and support them as much as they can. Someone close to me, whenever she felt that way, they'd talk to me on social media and then they'd always come over to my place at unexpected times during the day/night. I'd always let them in, of course, despite the protests of my parents. They were never a touchy-feely person, so hugs or a pat on the shoulder was completely off limits. Over this time, I had learnt that you don't have to necessarily say anything but simply be there for them, to know that you actually exist and that you're real. Different advice and solutions work for different people and personalities. If it was someone that I didn't know well, I would give contacts on who to seek advice/support/help from because I think that asking too-deep questions about their concerns is crossing boundaries. 

 

What kind of response would you expect from a social media channel?


Lack of interest, awkwardness, feeling uncomfortable, shock, surprise, silence

 

What do young people expect from processes put in place to deal with this? What should the extent of the mitigation/intervention be?’ (i.e. how far should the intervention go, should parents/police get involved, or should it stay online?)

 

From these processes, I think young people expect to get an idea on where to begin, to try and "arrange" these thoughts in categories or some kind of sequence to make sense of what's going on. In regards to intervention, I tend to live by and support this rule: If it's occurred in the past, don't. If it's being suggested it will happen, it has been shown to be a repeated action or it is evident that it is life-threatening, do it in the best interests of the individual. Of course, this could change depending on the situation. With intervention, I greatly frown upon the breach of privacy so if it is to be considered, think carefully. 

 

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

Hey guys, I didn't realise this convo was going on tonight. Sorry I'm late!

 

How are young people using social media in the context of suicidal ideation or when concerned about others at risk? What are the avenues being used (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube) and do these mediums need to be approached in different ways?

 

What do you think?

 

The main avenue that I see being used in these scenarios is Tumblr. I often see young people on their posting really negative things and being really down about their lives (I won't go into specifics as I think it's against the guidelines). I also often see posts on there from people sometimes saying that a certain poster is suicidal and directing their followers to that persons blog to send them messages of support which can be good thing and the people often really appreciate it. Although sometimes trolls will get on there and send them hate messages and egg them on which is a worry. On the positive side, there is a heap of great mental health recovery blogs on there that post up positive quotes, recovery articles, coping strategies and offer advice and support to people. A potential risk there though could be that the advice is unqualified so it may not be good advice? I think all social media companies need to be more aware about the how their platforms can affect people if they are experiencing suicidal ideation, but I'm not really sure what they could do about it. Maybe if someone is frequenting a lot of recovery blogs or searching mental health stuff then automatic links could come up on the side to reputatable websites/ phone numbers that can offer support? I know FB tailors advertising to your interests and posts so surely there would be some way to do it... A lot of recovery blogs already include websites/ helpline numbers for multiple countries on their pages which is really good.

I have also seen some occasional posts alluding to suicidal ideation from teens on my facebook page (i.e. cousins), but a lot of the time I don't know whether to take them seriously or not because then underneath that status their friends are poking fun at the them (and they are poking fun back). It's hard to know whether to get involved or not... Especially when I don't know them very well.

Xin

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

It occurs to me that many young people feel they cannot talk to the people in their lives offline. Teachers, friends, parents, siblings; they might not want to "burden" any of these people with the knowledge of their problems, or they might not feel like they'd get any support from trying. Social media then serves as a way to tell a lot of people at once, in a semi-removed kind of way, that things are not okay.

 

This is also particularly relevant for people who are being bullied, have social anxiety, are shy or introverted. Not everyone is comfortable having a face-to-face conversation. Text feels much safer, giving the person more distance and time to choose how they want to respond.

 

 

Responding to Question Three...


I didn't realise that YPtalking about suicide on SM is something we wanted to reduce. It's not a great system, and I don't pretend to know how effective or ineffective SM is as a tool for directing help, but I still feel there's potential for good to come of such public expressions of the desire to receive help.

But to reduce it... I'd love to see more people using ReachOut or Headspace or sites like that. I knew about RO for years, but I never bothered to sit down and really explore the site until I was looking for help to give a friend of mine. If every YP could be made to spend a few minutes going through the site, perhaps it would give them access to the help they needed. (I'm imagining a Wellbeing Class taught in all high schools where everyone goes into a computer lab for half an hour to check out youth websites.) If YP could get the help they needed from these sort of places, perhaps they wouldn't feel the need to post on SM.

The action I'd take if I read a post on suicide is to publicly express concern. I'd recommend they check out wellbeing websites (as mentioned above), and if appropriate, recommend they talk to their local counsellor. If they started opening up to me, I'd move the conversation to private venue (like messaging) and do my best to be caring whilst encouraging them to access the help they needed. If  I was worried that they were at about to commit suicide, I would get their address (from someone on their friends list if I didn't know it myself) and call 000. I'd also leave the door open if they wanted to talk about it later, giving me an opportunity to check up on how they're doing down the track.

 

The kind of response I expect is for most people to ignore such a post, and for one or two people to comment expressing concern and a desire for the person to seek help. This has been my experience so far, but I am hoping that others have more positive stories to share.

 

I expressed my views on "how far intervention should go" two paragraphs up, but to summarise... Acknowledge how the person is feeling, express care and concern, share information about how to get more help (online and in person), encourage the person to do something about their problems (hopefully by seeing a professional mental health worker or counsellor), if suicide is believed to be an immediate threat call the police, leave the door open if the person wants to talk another time, check up on them in the future. 

Highlighted

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

What could be put in place to reduce the risk of young people talking about suicide on social media?

More awareness of other services yp can use! Like KHL, eHeadspace. If young people knew these services existed maybe they wouldn't post so readily on SM. But I also know things like queues on these services are problems too. I know people who post really disturbing things on SM while waiting in a queue to speak to a counsellor on KHL.

 

Assuming you were a young person reading a post that mentioned suicide on social media, what kind of action would you take?

It depends on the person - if they frequently posted similar things and it seems to be for attention, I would be less likely to respond on a personal level. I would post some numbers for them to contact but wouldn't go into too much detail with them. I would try and urge them to get help, regardless of who they are. If they were a good friend and someone who didn't do this often, I would try and speak to them and see what I can do to help. Whether that's providing them with appropriate distractions or calling somoene to be with them in person. I would make sure I check up on the person at a later date too.

My responses would probably be similar to how I would reply on these forums and I am very lucky in that I have training and know heaps of resources. But I would also encourage anyone to use services like RO.com or KHL or eHeadspace and access real life help if I feel it's necessary and would even offer to be there with them when they access f2f support or send supportive texts. 

 

What kind of response would you expect from a social media channel?

As in like facebook.com or twitter.com? I would want them to at least give the young person phone numbers and resources. But they are not counselling services. They need to provide the person with information though and maybe send it again 24 hours after as a reminder.

 

What do young people expect from processes put in place to deal with this? What should the extent of the mitigation/intervention be?’ (i.e. how far should the intervention go, should parents/police get involved, or should it stay online?)
I'm in two places with this. I think interventions need to be subtle. YP do need avenues to express themselves but they also need to be aware of the consequences of doing this. They need to be aware of the helplines and the consequences of their actions. It also depends on the age of the yp. If they are over 18, it should stay online (or go to the police if there is explicit detail and it's regularly occurring) but if they are under 18, it should go to the parents (if it's explicit and regularly occurring). If it's a one off, helplines should be given first and foremost and then see where it goes from there. We don't want yp to STOP using places like SM to express themselves (and not just with suicidal stuff but in general, if they have a problem the internet and SM are great places to go - as long as they know the SAFE places to go (e.g. RO.com)) and yp DO need some freedom on the Internet (which is why I object to parents having passwords to everything for yp, if my parents had my passwords at age 15 when I started using RO.com, I would never have got help for things that I went through because I wouldn't have had somewhere to post about them as I would ahve felt as though my freedom was being restricted.

 

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

These are all great comments everyone - thank you for your thoughts so far, they're super useful! Thanks also for keeping the discussion incredibly considered, supportive, positive and constructive. 

 

I'll post the next question in a minute - only a couple more to go! We'll be finishing up at about 8.30pm.

 

Now's your chance to get your response to question three in!

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

Assuming you were a young person reading a post that mentioned suicide on social media, what kind of action would you take?

Obviously, if I truly thought the person was in imminent danger, I would contact emergency services.. However, I'd assess the situation first, and see if there was anyone else I could contact to physically go and check on the person.. If not, and if I couldn't do so, I'd call an ambulance or the police for a welfare check, whichever I thought was more appropriate.
Throughout this, I'd stay in constant contact with the person, and tell them the extent of my concerns as I went through this process.Being honest is always important, unless it's definitely going to cause more harm than good.

Re: Talking about suicide on social media - have your say!

I agree, it's difficult to decide whether to get involved with someone you don't particularly know. It could be because of the reaction we think we're going to get from someone who is searching for help (being defensive, shock, surprise, no response). This hypothetical reaction could also cause us to think that we'd be getting ourselves into more trouble than we thought. 

 

 

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Stay excellent