Social media and suicide prevention: findings from a stakeholder survey.
AuthorRobinson, J; Rodrigues, M; Fisher, S; Bailey, E; Herrman, H
Source TitleShanghai Archives of Psychiatry
Centre for Youth Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsRobinson, J., Rodrigues, M., Fisher, S., Bailey, E. & Herrman, H. (2015). Social media and suicide prevention: findings from a stakeholder survey.. Shanghai Arch Psychiatry, 27 (1), pp.27-35. https://doi.org/10.11919/j.issn.1002-0829.214133.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372758
BACKGROUND: Suicide is a leading cause of death, particularly among young adults. The rapid growth of social media and its heavy use by young adults presents new challenges and opportunities for suicide prevention. Social media sites are commonly used for communicating about suicide-related behavior with others, which raises the possibility of using social media to help prevent suicide. However, the use of social media varies widely between different suicide prevention advocates. The role this type of intervention should play in a community's overall suicide prevention strategy remains a matter of debate. AIM: Explore the ways in which stakeholders use social media for suicide prevention and assess their views about the potential utility of social media as a suicide prevention tool. METHODS: A 12-week stakeholder consultation that involved the online administration and completion of surveys by 10 individuals who conduct research about suicide and social media, 13 organizations that use social media for suicide prevention purposes, and 64 users of social media. RESULTS: Social media was seen as a useful means of delivering a range of suicide prevention activities. Respondents reported that the key benefits of social media were the opportunity to obtain emotional support from others, to express one's feelings, to talk to others with similar problems, and to provide help to others. The social media site believed to hold most potential for delivering suicide prevention activities was Facebook. There were concerns about potential risks of social media, but respondents felt the potential benefits outweighed the risks. CONCLUSIONS: Social media was recognized by different types of stakeholders as holding potential for delivering suicide prevention activities. More research is required to establish the efficacy and safety of potential social media-based interventions and ethical standards and protocols to ensure that such interventions are delivered safely need to be developed and implemented.
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