Social Media Can Help Prevent Suicide

Social media (everyone’s favorite dumping-ground for the ills of modern society) has been blamed for a lot of suicides over the past few years.  Places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, internet forums and chat rooms can become savage weapons in the hands on cyber bullies.  Teenagers in particular seem vulnerable to suicide after constant bullying (which may include bullying online and at school/college or in the neighborhood.)

These same social media sites blamed for suicides can be used to help prevent suicides.  The one advantage of social media is that there are far more eyes looking in on an online diary than a conventional diary.  Any post that seems to be a suicide note has a large audience.  For example, people can notify Facebook employees about posts that indicate that a person may be about to commit suicide.

This can backfire, but this backfire is more of a brief annoyance than anything else.  For example, a couple of years ago, I made a joke on a writers’ forum that the best way for me to get more page views for my online articles was to commit suicide.  (I know — I shouldn’t quit my day job.)  A couple of hours later, the police showed up at my doorstep and they did not see the joke.  But it shows that I have a reader somewhere.

To learn more about social media being used as a suicide prevention tool, check out The Atlantic’s article Using Social Media to Prevent Suicide.  Or skim it, at least.

Keep on writing….and try not to make any bad jokes about killing yourself.

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