#SPSM hosts #OpenMic chat and #EvilApples, 11/26/17, 9pCT

It’s American Thanksgiving this week! This means our usual cadre of hosts, mods, and community will be traveling, shopping, cleaning, and cooking. It’s a time to reflect on our year, what we are thankful for, and SOCIALIZE!

Grab some holiday goodies, and join us on our hashtag, #SPSM, at 9pm for OPEN MIC NIGHT! And, consider downloading the Evil Apples app, and hooking up with other SPSMers during the chat for some late night adult humor!

On google play, find Evil Apples here. On iTunes, find it here.


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#NetNeutrality vote and #Suicide #Prevention: #SPSM chats 11/19/17, 9pCT

Beau Pinkham returns to #SPSM to get us up to date on how this week’s net neutrality vote may impact suicide prevention innovation and efforts, 11/19/17, 9pCT.

Watch the conversation LIVE here:

Here’s Beau’s quick and dirty review:

Basically, boils down to several theoretical possibilities:

  1. If Net Neutrality is gutted/removed, this could drive more people to use various methods to hide their online presence to get around the throttling that the various companies would put in place. I’m talking about VPN’s – I’m unsure of how else someone would do that, but nature finds a way (for instance, this might also push people to be a bit more open about trying to do things like getting on neighbor’s wifi, etc. – think cable-jacking from the 80’s and 90’s when cable prices started hitting a much higher figure)
  2. Also bad, but probably not as bad – every single domain host will have to start working nicely with all the different ISP’s. So what if you’re doing telehealth through a website that doesn’t have a good relationship with, say, Comcast? What if Mediacom doesn’t like the domain host for your chat service? Etc. These are all things that will eventually be ironed out but we don’t have a timeframe for it and what it might look like.
  3. This would allow unprecedented amount of control by companies regarding who could see what while using the Internet. We all know that suicide could easily become a political issue – what if an Internet company decided to block access to certain websites regarding suicide/suicide prevention based on political or religious beliefs?
  4. We don’t know how this will impact social media at all. Maybe not at all – maybe as drastically as what we’d probably see with Netflix/Hulu/etc.
  5. This puts even more barriers in place for agencies to start new online initiatives. If a crisis center cannot quickly react to changes and develop new ways of communicating with people online, that could rapidly harm their ability to seek funding and grow the way we want to see crisis centers grow.


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#CreditScore, Actuarial #BigData, and #Suicide prediction: #SPSM chats 11/12/17, 9pCT

Can your credit score and other financial “big data” be used to assess suicide risk, or even predict an attempt or death? #SPSM chats, 11/12/17, 9pCT.

There are multiple historic examples about the relationship between suicide and finances. Consider the US Great Depression, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, or the most recently suicide rate increases during the Great Recession of 2008. Financial losses may be the triggering event in a decline in health that ends in suicide. It may also be that changes in credit scores are a digital signal about deteriorating mental health.

What’s interesting about about the relationship between finances and suicide, is that financial matters involve a LOT of digital signals, and it is entirely plausible that these signals could be used to assess suicide risk or predict a death. Of course, like many “big data’ innovations discussed on SPSM, there are a LOT of ethical and legal issues to consider. Join us for the chat, and watch us LIVE here:

Insurers are already using your credit score to predict risk and future behaviors, like your risk of a car wreck. Because it involves large markets, a lot of money, and a LOT of data, the insurance industry is on the front edge of using big data to assess risk and predict behaviors and events that seem rare and “random” (like car wrecks). Check out some choice quotes from the link above:

“The evidence presented in this empirical study of credit scoring and automobile insurance losses is clear: Credit scores predict insurance losses in automobile insurance at a statistically significant level. In fact, they are among the most useful predictor variables available to underwrite and price automobile (and homeowners) insurance. Rationales as to why these predictors work are socio-psychological, behavioral, and biological/biochemical.”

“To produce a “credit score” for an individual for predictive use in insurance, an individual’s credit history file is examined, and a subset of variables is selected from a total array of approximately 450 variables collected in the credit record. Different insurance companies may use different subsets of these behavioral and financial variables and develop different statistical credit score models; however, all generally contain from 10–50 credit history variables that are incorporated into statistical models using insurance losses as the dependent variable.”

“Considerable additional data are being collected by both insurers and others (e.g., credit-scoring firms, GPS firms, social media firms, store loyalty programs) that, combined with new predictive modeling techniques, have the potential to uncover “nontraditional” underwriting variables providing enhanced risk assessments. As the insurance industry advances beyond traditional classification and underwriting variables, the need will increase to justify why accurate prediction works for these “nontraditional” variables and to go beyond simply complying with Actuarial Standard 12 and to verify that any correlation discovered has a basis in fact and is not without an economic, socio-psychological, or behavioral underpinning. The development of a theoretical foundation for why a predictor (such as credit scores or occupation and educational achievement) works can also provide a path for new underwriting variable discovery beyond an ad hoc search.”

“Credit scores are, as we demonstrate empirically, strongly associated with future losses and can be incorporated as an underwriting and classification variable to improve underwriting and loss prediction. They contain behavioral information predictive of loss propensity not duplicated by traditional underwriting variables, yet they remain controversial.”

Controversial enough, that using credit scores actuarial models and pricing is banned in some states. And, of course, because financial data is even more heavily regulated and protected than most health care data, doing peer reviewed research on the relationships between credit scores and insurance risk is pretty hard to do. Just imagine doing this kind of peer reviewed research related to suicide risk assessment and prediction…So, of course, people are finding a way around this:

“According to a 2011 Celent report (Beattie and Fitzgerald 2011, p. 15Beattie, C., and M. Fitzgerald. 2011. Using Social Data in Claims and Underwriting. Celent Industry Trends Report. http://www.celent.com/reports/using-social-data-claims-and-underwriting. [Google Scholar]), “Just as insurers recognize a link between credit health and risk in auto insurance, social data may offer similar insights for insurers who set out to crack the data.” They predicted that social media data use will be incorporated into core underwriting activities in the future. Data mining of social networks and social media are already used in certain areas of insurance. For example, insurers data mine social media to discover fraud in workers’ compensation (NAIC 2012b) and for subrogation negotiations (Kenealy 2013Kenealy, B. 2013. Insurers Finding Ways to Use Social Media in Underwriting, Claims Handling. Business Insurance June 3. http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/99999999/NEWS070109/130609971?tags= |332|65|342#full_story. [Google Scholar]).”

What do you think? Fascinating? Disturbing? Orwellian? Join us 9pCT to chat!


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How did #NSPW go? @SSpencerThomas chats about @Action_Alliance, 11/5/17, 9pCT

In 2017, led by the Action Alliance, national partners in suicide prevention united around a shared hashtag, and coordinated messaging across the field. How well did #NSPW work? What are the lessons learned and possible next steps? Chat with #SPSM, 11/5/17, 9pCT.

What happened during #NSPW 2017?

o   American Association of Suicidology

o   American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

o   Education Development Center, Inc.

o   Families for Depression and Awareness’s Care for Your Mind

o   National Football League

o   National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s

o   Suicide Prevention Resource Center

o   U.S. Health and Humans Services

And check out the NSPW 2017 Metrics:

  • Partners who signed on: 50+ partners
  • Website traffic: 2,000+ users
  • Thunderclap campaign: 600+ supporters signed up with a total social reach of 3.1 million
  • #NSPW hashtag: 110 users, 703 posts, and a social reach of 100,000+

We will discuss how Sally Spencer Thomas and others organized #ElevateTheConvo chats, how that contributed to #NSPW and how many people with lived experience amplified the digital signal to broadly share a message.

Remember, when #SPSM had *just started* back in 2013? We talked about the limited reach and coordination of social media messaging during Suicide Prevention Month. In just four years, the field has really grown in it’s savvy, coordination, and reach. Let’s chat about how far we’ve come in this field, and where we can go next.

Watch us LIVE here:

Sally Spencer-Thomas headshot (2)

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas: As a clinical psychologist, inspirational international
speaker, impact entrepreneur, and survivor of suicide loss, Dr. Spencer-Thomas sees
the issues of suicide prevention and mental health promotion from many
perspectives. Dr. Spencer-Thomas was moved to work in suicide prevention after her
younger brother, a Denver entrepreneur, died of suicide after a difficult battle with
bipolar condition. Known nationally and internationally as an innovator in social change, Spencer-
Thomas has helped start up multiple large-scale, gap filling efforts in mental health including the award-
winning campaign Man Therapy (a program using humor to engage men in mental health) and the
nation’s first comprehensive workplace program designed to help employers with the successful
prevention, intervention, and crisis management of suicide. A recent invited speaker at the White
House, Spencer-Thomas’ goal is to elevate the conversation and make suicide prevention a health and
safety priority in our schools, workplaces and communities. Spencer-Thomas has also held leadership
positions for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the International Association for
Suicide Prevention, the American Association for Suicidology, and the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline. She has won multiple awards for her advocacy including the 2014 Survivor of the Year from the
American Association of Suicidology, the 2014 Invisible Disabilities Association Impact Honors Award,
and the 2012 Alumni Master Scholar from the University of Denver, the 2015 Farbarow Award from the
International Association for Suicide Prevention and the 2016 Career Achievement Alumni Award from
the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology.
She has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver, Masters in Non-profit
Management from Regis University, a Bachelors in Psychology and Studio Art with a Minor in Economics
from Bowdoin College. She has written four books on mental health and violence prevention. She lives
with her partner and three sons in Conifer, Colorado.
Connect with Dr. Spencer-Thomas by visiting her website and signing up for her newsletter at
http://www.SallySpencerThomas.com and by following her on Facebook @DrSallySpeaks, Twitter
@sspencerthomas and LinkedIn. Come “elevate the conversation” with her by participating in her
monthly podcasts, blogs and twitter chats!


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#Suicide, #SocialMedia and “free” speech: #SPSM chats, 10/29/17, 9pCT

SPSM chats about trends related a person’s ability or “right” to talk about suicide on social media platforms, 10/29/17, 9pCT. While many people perceive social media as highly “free,” “open,” and “unregulated” there are multiple technology trends that will increasingly impact social media “speech” about suicide. Join our chat to find out more, or drop in your two cents on the matter:

  1. Suicide can be treated similarly to topics such as violent hate speech, or pornography when it comes to social media platform moderation. In fact many platform policies and guidelines about moderation lump these types of content together, or treat them similarly.
  2. Algorithms that impact moderation, or display of social media content often reflect stigma and prejudice in the “real world.” This likely impacts content display and sharing about suicide.
  3. Much like other types of “moderated” content, conversations about suicide or suicidality could end up being increasingly driven “underground” to the “dark web.” This may mean migration away from common social media platforms that are more familiar to mental health professionals, crisis centers, or health care policy makers. This may slow or reduce the reach and effectiveness of social media centric strategies in suicide prevention.
  4. And what about suicide content that has poor, or outright violent messaging that most of us would be alarmed by? (this link displays a non-guideline compliant image and displays facts about suicide paired with violent messaging towards the LGBTQ community)
  5. And don’t even get us started about Net Neutrality. Based on community feedback, we’ll have a whole SPSM chat about this right before a congressional vote on the matter to help you be an informed suicide prevention stakeholder and citizen.

Watch us LIVE here:

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#SocialMedia, #Crisis, and #Anonymity: #SPSM chats with @BeauPinkham 10/22/17, 9pCT.

Beau Pinkham joins #SPSM to chat about the ethical, practical, and liability implications of expressions of suicidality via social media, 10/22/17, 9pCT.

When it comes to crisis work, the decision about whether or not to alert law enforcement and send rescue to people who are reporting imminent risk of suicide has long been controversial. Even before the era of social media there has been debate among crisis center experts about whether or not a caller’s anonymity should be kept, or if law enforcement should be notified if a caller is assessed to be imminent risk of suicide. While, increasingly in recent years, law enforcement is usually notified if someone initiates actions to harm themselves or die, when it comes to social media notifications, there are new considerations. And, and both traditional and new stakeholders considering them.

Watch us LIVE here:

Beau Pinkham

Beau Pinkham has been with The Crisis Center since 2002, first serving as a volunteer in the Crisis Intervention program before taking on duties as its coordinator. Now as Director of Crisis Intervention Services, Beau oversees the growth and sustainability of The Crisis Center’s mission locally, regionally, and nationally.  Beau is an Iowa City original and holds three degrees from the University of Iowa in Business Marketing, Business Management, and German. He currently serves on the Contact USA board of directors, an agency that accredits crisis centers across the country, and has spoken on panels regarding pushing crisis/suicide prevention and intervention into new and under-served online and tech-focused spaces.

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#ListeningSession and #SocialMedia: #SPSM old school twitter chat, 10/15/17, 9pCT

SPSM does new school “listening session” using old school twitter-only chat, 10/15/17, 9pCT.

In the last year, you may have noticed “listening sessions” popping up in the social services spaces (and elsewhere). Like this.

In fact, this is a trend we’ve seen spreading across professions and stakeholder community. You’ll even see “how to” guides on-line. Or guides like this. But many times listening sessions are conducted (as in the case of these links) in a physical location.

People who come together in the suicide prevention space are spread across the country, and it only makes sense for us to use social media to do some LISTENING within the #SPSM community. In fact, it solves many problems related to “location” and “recording” as well as “summarizing” a chat. Come see how.

So, join us on Sunday, where we will be LISTENING to you:

  1. Who are the TOP 3 stakeholders in the suicide prevention space (however you see that) who are NOT being served well by national organizations or community programs?
  2. What are the barriers to serving them that tech, innovation, and social media could help overcome?
  3. What assets in our #SPSM community do you think are most valuable in the suicide prevention space?
  4. What assets in our #SPSM community have been under utilized that could make a difference if we were more strategic?
  5. Taking action: What could be done immediately to better use our #SPSM community assets in the service of suicide prevention? Who should do that? What support do they need?
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