Social media can be a brilliant tool for helping you, loved ones, to keep other people up to date and to find support, however as it is open to others it can sometimes take on a life of its own and it is very important to be mindful before posting. The Samaritans have the following advice:
- Ask yourself why you are posting, think about the potential impact your post may have to others.
- Use a trigger warning if appropriate, e.g. “Trigger warning – this post discusses suicidal feelings”.
- Use sensitive language - Try to use phrases like ‘ended their own life’, rather than ‘committed suicide’ which can make it sound like a crime. Avoid language that suggests suicide is quick, painless, or a solution to a problem.
- Signpost to support, is there a way you can link to support sights, encourage others to reach out and be clear that support is out there and suicide can be prevented.
- Don’t speculate, try not to speculate about changes in suicide rates or details around an individual’s suicide or attempt to take their life.
- Be mindful, if you are talking about people who have died by suicide think about the message you are sending. Think about positive messages about their life rather than suggesting their suicide has achieved something e.g. ‘they are in a better place’ as someone who is vulnerable might identify with them and consider copying their actions.
- Never post details about suicide methods or locations, If you see posts with detailed descriptions of methods, you should report it to the site where you saw it.
- Think about how often you post, regular posts about suicide can be distressing for you and others.
- Be careful about what you repost/share - unhelpful posts about suicide can help to spread unintentional harmful messages to thousands of people online. Try to only share posts that come from reputable sources that talk about suicide in a safe and sensitive way.
- Share hope, recovery and positivity - positive stories about people overcoming a crisis and how they have recovered from this can encourage vulnerable people to seek help and is associated with fewer suicides.
For more general advice about what you share on social media see the links below.