17 April 2019

Orygen and The Jed Foundation Launch #chatsafe in the U.S.

Orygen and The Jed Foundation Launch #chatsafe in the U.S.

Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, in collaboration with the Stanford Psychiatry Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing, and The Jed Foundation (JED) announced the U.S. launch of #chatsafe: A young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide.

The #chatsafe guidelines were originally developed and released by Orygen in August 2018 in Australia. The impact of the guidelines in Australia prompted JED and the Stanford Psychiatry Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing to collaborate with Orygen to adapt the guidelines for a U.S. audience. These guidelines are the first of their kind to be informed by evidence and were developed in partnership with young people.

Coinciding with the launch, the three organizations will host a Facebook Live on Wednesday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. EDT via The Mighty, a digital health community. The Facebook Live event will feature a panel discussion, moderated by The Mighty’s Editorial Director, Jordan Davidson, with Associate Professor Jo Robinson, head of suicide prevention research at Orygen, and two young adults, Kenna and Felix.

“The #chatsafe guidelines have already helped thousands of Australian teens and young adults use social media to talk safely about suicide-related thoughts, feelings and behaviors and we are thrilled that they now have the potential to reach even more teens and young adults in the U.S.,” said Associate Professor Robinson. “We believe that by equipping young people with the skills to have these conversations safely, young lives will be saved.”

#chatsafe is intended to support young people who might be responding to suicide-risk or suicide-related content posted by others, for young people who might be looking for information about support or help for suicidal feelings, or for those who might want to share their own feelings and experiences with suicide online. In addition, the guidelines can be useful for those who support young people, such as parents, educators and mental health professionals.

“Teens and young adults in the U.S. face significant challenges, which may be further intensified by the presence of social media in their daily lives,” said Dr. Victor Schwartz, Chief Medical Officer at JED. “These guidelines take a 21st century approach to talking safely about suicide and will help fill a critical unmet need for our nation’s young people.”

In addition to providing advice on how to communicate on memorial posts, the guidelines also provide tips on appropriate language and images to use, how to share personal experience of suicidal behavior, and how to respond to someone who may be considering suicide. The adapted guidelines also provide information and resources relevant to young people living in the U.S., including national phone and text helplines.