You don’t need a read a big study to know that most of us are spending a ton of time online, especially on our social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and MySpace, and the list goes on. “Liking” something on Facebook is a new way to smile at something that makes you happy and tweeting at someone can be another way to let someone know you have their back. So it makes sense that people use the social networks to share some of their darker thoughts and feelings too. And that’s totally OK. We can also use social media to help our friends in need get the help they need. Read about the warning signs for suicide here.
When someone writes a something that makes you think they may be thinking of hurting themselves, you can answer their ‘cry for help’ by sending them a message encouraging them to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255.) If you are friends with the person in real life, especially if you know where they are, you can call the Lifeline yourself and talk to a counselor about more specific ways to help them.
If you don’t know the person (and let’s be real… how many of us know ALL of our social media friends?) you can still get help for them by reporting their update or tweet or comment to one of the safety teams at the social networks listed below. You might even want to bookmark this post so you can pull it up easily when you need it.
Facebook: Click here to anonymously report someone as suicidal on Facebook. A member of Facebook’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number and possibly a link to chat with Lifeline counselor.
Twitter: Click here and select “Self-Harm” to send an e-mail to Twitter reporting a suicidal user. Twitter will send the user a direct message with the Lifeline number.
MySpace: Click on the “Report Abuse” link that appears at the bottom of every MySpace page and complete the form. MySpace will then send an e-mail to the MySpace user with the Lifeline number.
YouTube: To report suicidal content, click on the flag icon under a video and select “Harmful Dangerous Acts” and then “Suicide or Self-Injury.” You Tube will then review the video and may send a message to the user that uploaded the video with the Lifeline number.
Tumblr: Click here to write an e-mail to Tumblr about a suicidal user. Include as much information as possible including the URL of the Tumblr blog. A member of Tumblr’s Safety Team will send the user an e-mail with the Lifeline number.
It can be really stressful when you know someone who needs help, so don’t forget that You Matter too! Be sure to take care of yourself by doing a self-love activity. And if someone close to you has tried to kill themself you may want to think about joining a support group.
Have you ever helped someone online? What was your experience like?