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Social Media

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Social media can play a positive role in raising awareness of suicide as a social and public health issue. It can inform people about suicide, signs to look out for and promote the fact that suicide is preventable. It can also act as a negative space when used incorrectly. Spreading misinformation, increasing stigma or sensationalise a death. Pause before you post and provide information on appropriate support to encourage people experiencing emotional problems or suicidal thoughts to seek help.

Family or a friend

Social Media Do's and Don'ts

Social media serves as a useful tool to reach people in crises, providing information, guidance, and support. Understand better its role and what are the do’s and don’ts.

Representing a community group

Cyber Bullying

Just because we sit behind a screen more and more, doesn’t mean our words carry any less impact. If you are a victim of cyberbullying there are people you can talk to.

Part of the community or want to be better informed

Vulnerable People and Posting

Consider the impact on families and friends before using or sharing images on social media to illustrate a story. Emotive imagery can glamourise a death or lead vulnerable individuals to over-identify with the deceased.

A representative or reporter

Reporting Responsibly

Speculation about a death or the circumstances surrounding a person dying can easily be misreported or wrongly repeated as fact. Double check the reliability and trustworthiness of online sources of information.

Social Media Do's and Don'ts

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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.


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Bullying of any form is very distressing, but particularly when it is done through digital platforms (whether that be on your phone, gaming device, social media or through apps or other software). Cyberbullying can be relentless as the bullies have access to you almost 24/7 and potentially wherever you go.

Cyberbullying can take on many forms (here) and ranges from ‘name calling’ and rumour spreading to harassment, grooming and blackmail. Taking action against cyberbulling can be very difficult but here are some tips:

  •  Traceable – people behind posts can be traced by the police, every time you visit a website or make a posting, your internet service provider will have an electronic note of your activity. Even if someone has created an anonymous email address people can still be traced.
  •  Keep safe by using unusual passwords, keep your passwords unique, safe and hidden. If you are at all worried, change them.
  •  Sign out of public computers. If you are using a public or shared computer such as one in a library, computer shop, or even a shared family computer, be sure to sign out before you leave.
  •  Being bullied online can affect someone enormously. It can affect a person’s self-esteem, confidence and social skills. Get support from family, friends and if related to school or work speak out to supportive colleagues or teachers. Charities such as BullyingUK can help too.
  • For more general advice about what you share on social media see the links below.

Vulnerable People and Posting

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Reporting Responsibly

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About Us

Over the last decade there have been growing challenges around stakeholder and community communication during and after a time of heightened suicide activity. Whilst there is plentiful information out there for families, friends, communities and representatives during a time of heightened suicide concern, it is often text heavy and difficult to digest, especially at a time of heightened emotions.

This can lead to frustration and communication breakdown between families and friends of loved ones and agencies and community representatives, which in turn can lead to unsafe messaging, media and memorialisation.
Comkit tries to address these challenges by developing an empathic communication toolkit to support families, communities, agencies and representatives in what to do and say at a time of heightened suicide concern.

This toolkit has been developed for Northern Ireland through a co-design process involving:

  •  Over ​​30 industry professionals and academic experts through co-design workshops.
  •  Six 1-to-1 sessions with people with lived experiences through different groups from Families Voices Forum and other organisations.
  •  Presentations to Protect Life Groups across Northern Ireland.
  •  Building on over 5 years of work in the area.

The project builds on challenges identified through the ‘Our Future Foyle’ and ‘Relink’ projects in Northern Ireland.

The voices you hear are from local people with lived experience of losing someone to sucide.

Urban Scale Interventions has produced this tool with support from the Public Health Agency.

For more information contact:

Contact us