Suicide Prevention and Social Media
Most college-aged students are on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram. Some people use these sites as an outlet and a way to express their feelings. It is important to know if content being posted by someone is something you should be concerned about. Here are some indications of distressing messages:
1. Feeling alone, hopeless, useless, or a burden to others:
a. “I don’t want to get out of bed. Seriously can’t do anything right.”
2. Withdrawal from everyday activities:
a. “Missed another chem lab today. I’m a waste of space. #backtobed #igiveup #neverenough”
3. Showing irritability and hostility that is out of character:
a. “I hate everyone. F#@K the world.—Feeling angry.”
4. Showing impulsive behavior:
a. This could include pictures of dangerous activities such as drinking and driving
5. Insomnia posts:
a. “3 am. No sleep. What else is new.”
6. Using negative hashtags and/or emoticons:
a. “#depressed #alone #worthless #whocares L”
So what can you do if you see this sort of behavior on social media?
· Reach out
o Let the person know that they are not alone and that you care about them. Make sure they know its okay to ask for help.
o Your offer may be rejected, but you shouldn’t take that personally.
o If they don’t want to speak with you, encourage them to talk to others or connect them with professionals.
o Regardless of the outcome, make sure to continue your out reach offline as well.
o Avoid “liking” concerning posts, as this may give off the wrong message
· Know your resources
o On Facebook, you have the option to report suicidal content
o On Instagram, you can report a photo for inappropriate content by clicking the 3 dots under the picture.
o Also on instagram, if a person types in a indicative of self-harm, a content advisory will pop-up allowing you to Learn More to get information on self-harm or suicide help.