A literature review, in-depth internet search and series of stakeholder surveys into using social media for suicide prevention.
Suicide, and suicide-related behaviours are a significant public health problem both in Australia and internationally. The media has traditionally been widely seen as playing an important role in the prevention of suicide. However, the last decade has seen the advent of social media sites, which allow users to not only receive information, but to create and exchange their own content. These forums, in particular blogs and social networking sites, are commonly used for the expression of suicidal feelings and for the communication about suicide-related behaviour with others, and as such have presented a series of new challenges for the field of suicide prevention.
The aims of this study were twofold:
1. To conduct a scoping exercise in order to establish what is currently known about suicide and social media as well as the extent of work and activity currently underway that relates to suicide-related behaviour and social media; and
2. To conduct a stakeholder consultation in order to determine current gaps in knowledge, community perceptions of the relationship between suicide and social media, and future priorities for work in this field.
The study employed three discrete studies in order to address these aims:
1. An examination of the peer-reviewed literature relating to suicide and social media;
2. An in-depth internet search to identify the ways in which organisations use social media for suicide prevention; and
3. A series of stakeholder surveys.