We use the internet and social media sites to connect to the rest of the world and express ourselves in our daily lives. During our time online, it's possible that we may encounter individuals who are discussing thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Those going through a tough time, or even dealing with depression, may share feelings online in an effort to connect to others in their situation.
Remember that there are people who care about you and hurting yourself is not the answer. Take the first step and call a hotline in resources listed below. People call or reach out to these resources for a variety of reasons including depression, loneliness, substance abuse, illness, relationship problems, and economic problems among others.
Depression has a variety of symptoms and affects millions of adults each year. Common symptoms include sadness, loss in interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, loss of energy, difficulty thinking and possibly thoughts of suicide. A person might be clearly expressing these types of behaviors, or their behavior change might be more subtle. Sometimes they might not feel comfortable reaching out to individuals directly, and instead express feelings online where they may feel more comfortable speaking anonymously.
Judging behavior based on online posts alone is tough, but there are potential warning signs or indicators to depression, self harm or even suicide. You may want to ask yourself a few questions to help you assess the situation:
If you assessed the situation, and this is someone you know, it might be a good idea to reach out to them personally and make sure they are okay.
If this is someone you don’t know, you still have the option of reaching out to them as a concerned individual, or referring them to a counselor, a suicide hotline, or someone who might know them better.
Due to the sensitivity of these issues the person might not be comfortable discussing their feelings with you. Even if the person is not experiencing those feelings, it is never a bad idea to offer help. Before proceeding, check out the resources below to help you evaluate the seriousness of situation and help you come up with how to approach someone who might be depressed, suicidal or considering harming themselves.
American Psychiatric Association | @APAHealthyMinds
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Half of Us
National Institute of Mental Health |@nimhgov
International hotline resources:
International Suicide Hotlines from Suicide.org
International Suicide Prevention Wiki
Suicide hotline in US:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) | @800273TALK
Self-harm hotline in US:
SAFE Alternatives or 1-800-DONT-CUT (366-8288) | @theSAFEstore
Self Injury Foundation | @sifoundation
Other useful resources:
To Write Love on Her Arms | @twloha
The Trevor Project | @trevorproject
To alert the Trust & Safety Team about suicidal content on Twitter, please file a ticket here for our review.