Home > Uncategorized > Are you concerned that someone on YouTube is a possible suicide risk?

Are you concerned that someone on YouTube is a possible suicide risk?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one of the most innovative federal agencies to harness social media to safeguard citizens’ health. Sound a little odd?  Social media, as we know,  has proven to be a relevant tool, not a passing fad and is now used to provide health information to support suicide prevention efforts. [As a health communications graduate student, I would love to work for NSPL or another suicide prevention agency someday!] NSPL’s videos on popular social media sites like Facebook.com, twitter.com and YouTube.com have been met with overwhelming response from people looking for help or a community. It’s not just the information, its the stories that are told. Feeling suicidal is mostly about feeling alone or ashamed, these sites provide support and a dialogue.

For example, NSPL has effectively partnered with YouTube to address circumstances in which a member’s post content promotes suicide or suggests they are at risk of self harm.  Information (and even a little segment by Dr. Phil) is listed in YouTube’s Help section and the video can be flagged for review. Facebook.com has also partnered with the NSPL so that if someone expresses suicidal ideation on the site and their friend reports it to Facebook, Facebook sends the e-mail to the NSPL to read and possibly to respond.

How many friends does NSPL’s have??

•  Facebook – 16,055 people like the Lifeline page
•  MySpace – 5,263 friends
•  Twitter – 3,496 followers and listed 311 times
•  YouTube – 22,610 channel views and 356 subscribers

From: http://ohmygov.com/blogs/general_news/archive/2010/12/07/Saving-lives-with-social-media-literally-speaking.aspx, December 2010.

Not bad!

The anonymity and enormous reach made possible by the web provides new ways of reaching people who need help. However, many people are resistant to making contact by phone and assessing imminent risk is difficult online.  For now, NSPL’s overall social media goal is to provide reputable information related to suicide prevention. They also represent a great model for government and non-profit organizations to “follow.”

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