Responding to #suicide on-line: Fire extinguishers or smoke detectors? #SPSM discusses.

Next week we will be featuring suicide prevention media experts from JR Reingold and Associates, who will be discussing their work with the Veteran’s Crisis Line, and the VA’s suicide prevention week social media campaign. More on that coming soon.

This week, however, we will be rounding out our discussion on SPSM strategies for responding in real time to suicidal ideation and “cry out” messages on various social media campaigns. This is the third, and concluding discussion, rounding out 2 highly engaged Twitter chats about recent suicide-related social media events,  followed by our thoughts about designing an organized “best practices” approach for responding to these events effectively.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf particular interest this week are 2 different SPSM approaches that are currently being proposed. One is akin to acknowledging that the internet is too big to monitor, and (to use the fire emergency analogy), educating the public on fire extinguishers, with extinguishers located conveniently nearby. The other is more like a smoke detector wired into a security system that automatically alerts first responders in order to minimize damage even at times when no one is there to sound the alarm.

The first SPSM approach, touted by people like Fred Wolens, Public Policy Manager at Facebook, is to empower users in social media community to connect people in crisis with resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. According to Wolens, “Facebook on its own doesn’t troll the site for suicidal expressions…Logistically it would be far too difficult with so many users and so many comments that could be misinterpreted by a computer algorithm. The only people who will have a really good idea of what’s going on is your friends so we’re encouraging them to speak up and giving them an easy and quick way to get help,”

The second SPSM approach, advocated by Chris Poulin, Director of the Durkeim Project, is to create a program that could identify suicidal content, automatically display links to connect a user with help, and provide alerts to community resources to review the content and follow up. ““We feel like we have proven that we can predict suicide risk based on language and text factors – and the suicide research community has no ability to predict suicide currently,”

Tonight we will be discussing the merits of both approaches and how they might fit (or not) with a comprehensive community strategy for responding to suicidal expressions in social media.

The Tweets for this chat will be archived on Storify.

About spsmchat

Suicide Prevention Social Media: Weekly chats, expert guests. Sundays at 6pm PT/9pm ET. Live-streaming at Watch past shows on our blog. Hosted by Rudy Caseres. #SPSM
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1 Response to Responding to #suicide on-line: Fire extinguishers or smoke detectors? #SPSM discusses.

  1. I would feel so much better about this effort if I knew that access to good care were available to all, once we’ve decided how to identify and refer them. There are so many barriers.

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