Before you communicate online about suicide, take some time to think about why you want to 'share' this post. Reflect on how your post could affect other people and whether or not there is a different way to communicate this information in a way that is safer or more helpful.
It can also be helpful to be aware of some of the warning signs of suicide risk before you post online, as well as some of the suicide prevention resources offered by the 'social media' or online platform you are using. For example, Facebook’s Suicide Prevention Help Centre provides information on how to report suicide-related content to Facebook, as well as a number of resources and links to suicide helplines in Australia and internationally.
There are many complex factors that lead to someone feeling suicidal, so it is important to communicate about suicide in a safe way.
Talking online about suicide
Any image, photo, video or written post can quickly go viral online.
It’s possible that what you post or share online may be there forever.
If you have made a post that refers to suicide or suicidal behaviour it can be helpful to monitor your post regularly for unsafe or harmful comments.
Include contact information for help services, such as helplines, local suicide prevention services, or local emergency services.
Social media platforms often encourage the use of images, photos, videos and other multimedia. However, these can sometimes have unintended harmful consequences
Whether you are an occasional or frequent user of social media, be aware that sometimes repeated exposure to negative content could impact upon your own wellbeing.
Images, photos, videos and other multimedia can sometimes have unintended harmful consequences, particularly if they portray a person who has died by suicide.
A trigger warning is a statement at the start of your post that alerts other users that the post may contain distressing content.
If your 'post' does include graphic or descriptive content or content that might be distressing to others, you should consider providing a 'trigger warning' in your post.
A trigger warning is a statement at the start of your post that alerts other users that the post may contain distressing content. The trigger warning should be positioned at the beginning of your post so readers can make an informed decision about whether or not they continue to read the post. It should also include a link or information on available support services.
If your post contains images, photos or videos, you should consider providing a trigger warning first and posting the content in the comment section or feed below so that other users can decide whether they want to see your post or not.
Remember to check your post for any unhelpful language, descriptions, images or graphic references to self-harm or suicide and remove them before you publish your post.
Only disclose the personal details you feel comfortable letting others know about.
If you decide to 'post' about your experience with current or previous suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviour online, consider that other people in your life who don’t know about your experiences might find this out as a result of your post.
You may also receive a mixture of both positive and negative responses. Think about what aspects of your personal experience you wish to disclose and remember that you don’t have to 'share' everything. Only disclose the personal details you feel comfortable letting others know about and leave out any information you would not want everyone you have ever met, or will ever meet, to know about you.
☎️ Online and phone support services
📔 Social media platform resources
☎️ Call 000
For less urgent assistance, contact one of the following support services.
Provides free 24/7 telephone, online, and video counselling and crisis support to all Australians affected by suicide.
☎️ Call 1300 659 467
🌏️ Visit suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Provides free 24/7 online and phone personal crisis support and suicide prevention services to all Australians.
☎️ Call 13 11 14
🌏️ Visit lifeline.org.au
Provides free and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling for children and young people aged between five and 25 years.
☎️ Call 1800 551 800
🌏️ Visit kidshelpline.com.au
Provides email, chat and phone counselling for young people aged between 12 and 25 years. eheadspace operates seven days a week, from 9:00am to 1:00am AEDST.
☎️ Call 1800 650 890
🌏️ Visit eheadspace.org.au
Australian suicide prevention resources available through different 'social media' platforms.
Facebook Help Centre has a number of tools to help people who have come across suicide-related material. The Suicide Prevention Help Centre provides information on how to report suicide content to a trained member of their safety team who will identify the 'post' and the location of the 'user'. If necessary, they can contact emergency services to assist those at risk of suicide or self-harm. The Suicide Prevention Help Centre also provides information on country-specific suicide prevention helplines to assist people who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviour.
Instagram Help Centre provides details to assist users to report content that suggests a person may be at risk of suicide or self- harm. Users can report content by
The help centre also provides links to suicide prevention websites and hotlines that can assist people during a suicidal crisis.
Snapchat Support Centre recommends users who are concerned about a fellow user encourage the person to seek help or consult with a professional service. If users don’t feel comfortable engaging with the person who may be at risk of suicide, they can report a safety concern by:
Twitter Help Centre provides information on how to report self-harm and suicide-related content to a trained team devoted to responding to people who share content that suggests they may be at risk of self-harm or suicide. Information on how to recognise the signs of self-harm and suicide are provided, as well as an online form to alert the Twitter suicide prevention response team.