Suicide, Social Media, and Censorship: Reasonable people diverge on difficult issue. 2/19/19 #SPSM #ImpactedFamily #LivedExperience #SuicideReporting

#SPSM will be having an AAS FB Live hosted “very special chat,”  Tuesday 2/19/19, 9pET/8pCT.

When it comes to suicide, social media, memes from Lived Experience, and censorship, it seems wise to invoke the (now infamous) Thomas Joiner Preamble:

“Reasonable people can reasonably disagree about the nature and solutions of difficult problems. ”

Instagram, and by extension its parent company Facebook, announced changes to their policy, disallowing graphic depictions of self-harm. This change follows the death of Molly Russell by suicide. Molly’s parents, in part, blame self harm content from Instagram for her death. 

This disallowing of self-harm content has, at this time, sparked considerable public debate, as well as debate among Suicidologists.

There was also an amazing article in the Atlantic discussing the fact that memes and images about suicide abound on the internet, and given that you can’t police it all, what do you do?

Notable points raised in the last week:

  1. Molly’s death by suicide was likely due to complex factors. Molly, and everyone really, deserves better science about suicide, and a better care system. Right now there is a lot we don’t know about suicide, and a care system that on its best day is still often inadequate.
  2. Debate over whether or not disallowing images of self harm and suicide is helpful or harmful to people at risk of suicide and/or people with lived experience of suicide.
  3. Debate over whether or not the media guidelines for reporters are meant to be applied to individual expressions about their own suicidality on social media.
  4. Debate over whether or not disallowing this content is censorship.
  5. Relatively little conversation was held about how effective such “censorship” will actually be. I.e. is such a thing “suicide prevention theater” due to a moral panic, or an effective means of preventing contagion and limiting harm?
  6. Relatively little conversation about #ImpactedFamily stages of grieving a suicide, including the urge to “do something” in the wake of a loved one’s suicide death, in the face of an inadequate science and health care system.

We will be discussing all of this in a very special, AAS hosted #SPSM chat, on FB Live. Join the old school SPSM gang (@DocForeman, Tony Wood, Dr. Bart Andrews, and Chris Maxwell), 9pET/8pCT.

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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