Young people are being supported to talk safely online about suicide with a 12-week campaign by Orygen, Australia’s revolutionary youth mental health organisation.
Through animation and influencer messages, the social media campaign aims to help young people who might:
- be responding to suicide risk or suicide-related content posted by others;
- be looking for information about support or help for suicidal feelings; and/or
- want to share online their own feelings and experiences with suicide.
Associate Professor Jo Robinson, head of suicide prevention research at Orygen, said the campaign had been developed with young people to make Orygen’s guidelines to talking online about suicide more accessible.
The guidelines, called #chatsafe: a young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide, were first released in August 2018 and have since been made available to Facebook’s 2.41 billion users.
“Rather than to take the view that you shouldn't talk about suicide on social media, we decided that it was important to develop some safety guidelines for young people who are talking online about this topic,” Associate Professor Robinson said. “This campaign makes those guidelines more accessible through video, animation with a character we call ‘Moon Cookie’, as well as messages and videos created by young people.”
Zoe, a youth participant in the development of the guidelines, said navigating social media could be tough, and without tools and resources such as Chatsafe, it was easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure.
“I definitely wish I had something like Chatsafe to turn to when I was younger, but now I can pass it on to my younger brothers when they need a bit of support,” Zoe said.
Associate Professor Robinson hopes the campaign will also be useful for people who support young people, such as parents, teachers and mental health professionals.
As well as providing advice on how to communicate on memorial posts and celebrity suicides, the campaign provides self-care tips, help to understand what language and images to use, how to share personal experience of suicidal behaviour, and guidance on how to respond to someone who may be suicidal.
Development of the #chatsafe guidelines was funded by the Australian Government, under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.
#chatsafe can be followed online via:
YouTube: #chatsafe AU