Social media and technology have become integral in most of our daily lives, influencing how we communicate, access information, and engage with the world around us. While there are concerns about their potential negative impacts on mental wellbeing, there is another side to the digital world – one that provides invaluable support and a lifeline to those in their time of need.
The power of social media and technology in suicide prevention cannot be underestimated; here are just a few ways social media plays an integral part in our mission to save young lives:
Reaches people in need of support
One of the biggest advantages of the digital world is its ability to reach people spanning far and wide instantly. For suicide prevention organisations, such as PAPYRUS, we can reach out to vulnerable people who might otherwise go unnoticed or are reluctant to visit their GP or medical professional regarding their suicidal thoughts and feelings. Through advertisements, signposting social media posts, informative blogs, and online campaigns, we can extend our support network to people in distress, encouraging them to seek help or access our expansive resources, which could help them feel understood and connected. We can also reach those concerned about another person who might be experiencing thoughts of suicide and either in need of support themselves or want advice on how to support their loved one.
Provides a safe space for expression
Nowadays, many people find it easier to express their feelings and emotions online than in person. Social media platforms and support forums offer a safe space for people to share their experiences, fears, and anxieties without fear of judgement. This allows people to find and connect with others who can understand them rather than feeling alone in their thoughts and feelings.
Offers access to 24/7 support
Suicidal thoughts and crises can occur at any time, and having access to immediate support is crucial. The internet facilitates round-the-clock availability of resources and crisis helplines. Through webchats, instant messaging, and dedicated helpline numbers, such as HOPELINE247, those in crisis or need of support can access real-time assistance, providing them with hope and an ear to listen when they need it most.
Helps raise awareness and break stigma
Online/social media campaigns have the power to raise awareness about suicide prevention and the importance of seeking help. PAPYRUS, along with various suicide prevention and wellbeing organisations, regularly posts informative content, statistics, and infographics to circulate valuable information and dispel misconceptions surrounding suicide and mental health. By breaking down stigmas, we can promote a more empathetic and understanding society that supports those in need and ultimately remove the fear and shame many people admit to feeling when struggling with their thoughts.
Educates people about suicidal ideation
The internet enables everyone to stay informed about suicide prevention and broader mental health and access valuable tools and advice to support someone experiencing suicidal thoughts. The PAPYRUS website offers a plethora of resources, including conversation starters, information on suicidal invitations, and support services that we encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with so they can either signpost someone else or access themselves should they ever need it. People can also easily share this knowledge with their friends and family online, encouraging them to do the same, so the information is shared far and wide. Education is a powerful tool in equipping ourselves to recognise and respond to suicidal thoughts.
In the battle against suicide, each of us has the power to make a difference. By using social media and the internet positively and to their full potential, you can become an advocate for suicide prevention and support those who may be struggling.