Support on Social Media
How to Support Someone Online
One of the first hurdles to cross in establishing a process for suicidal community members is one of identification. How do you know if someone may be in suicidal crisis? Examples of a community post from someone who may be at-risk:
- “Hi, I really need some help, can someone please contact me.”
- “My daughter has bromyalgia and the treatment alone costs too much for us to keep up with everything else. It’s become a full-time job to take care of her and I don’t know how I can keep going on like this. I feel hopeless with all of this and don’t know how I can keep going.”
- “My 15-year-old son has been texting one of his friends and he has been having what appears to be thoughts of suicide. What should I do?”
- “I’ve been really depressed lately and I don’t know how to x this. I have been thinking about suicide lately, my grandfather committed suicide 10 years ago. I’m so scared about all of this.”
If you have identified an individual that is at risk of suicide or in suicidal crisis but doesn’t seem to be at imminent risk, research suggests that the community moderator reach out to that individual directly, through a set of clear processes established by and best suited to the needs of your platform or community.
While we encourage active moderation and response online, we do not encourage community managers to take on the role of mental health care professionals. All engagement with an at-risk individual should be designed to provide appropriate support while connecting that individual to mental health or crisis resources like the Lifeline, your local crisis center, or other local mental health providers.
If, while engaging with an at-risk individual, you believe that the person may actually be at imminent risk of suicide, call 911 or other local emergency services for immediate assistance. Local emergency services are the fastest way to help a person who is at imminent risk. Other resources or protocols may be inappropriate during this situation and should not be applied.