Why we need to be careful when posting things about self harm and suicide…

Most people mean well when posting about self harm and suicide, but it’s so important that:

1. Never mention any methods of harm as anyone innocently reading can be ‘triggered’ by such things. Someone contemplating suicide may be more likely to act upon their thoughts if exposed to talk of methods.

2. Always ensure if you’re posting about where someone can get help that YOU know where you’re sending them. You post a support number- for who? Are they limited by age? Gender? Country? What help will they offer? Hopeline is awesome but only for young people, Samaritans is great for listening, but they won’t actually intervene. Be informed. The only thing worse than not seeking help is being sent to somewhere that can’t help you when you’re already feeling hopeless.

3. Don’t post stories that glamorise suicide or self harm. Even celebratory posts about someone who has died by suicide are KNOWN to have a detrimental effect and can increase the likelihood of people dying by suicide. Often people who are suicidal are comforted by the thought that they will be missed fondly, or feel so awful about themselves that no matter how bad the impact they leave – they still believe that people are better off without them.

Instead:

  • Do post things that promote talking and help-seeking.
  • Do tell people that suicide is something that can be stepped back from with the right help.
  • Do listen.
  • Be ready to have a conversation .

Something like:

“Suicidal thoughts are normal for many people. With the right help and support you can get through this and if you need to talk, I am here.”

 

Leave a Reply