Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 11:16 EDT

Mental Health Experts, Internet Companies Partner on First Suicide Prevention Guide for Online Technology

December 16, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With nearly 1 million people estimated to die by suicide each year according to the World Health Organization, suicide prevention experts and leading internet companies today announced a new program to help people struggling with suicidal thoughts and intentions. Responding to a Cry for Help: Best Practices for Online Technologies is a policy and resource guide for new and emerging technology companies to decrease suicide risk among their users. The 2,700 suicides per day which far surpass deaths by conflict and homicide, impacts entire communities of families, friends, co-workers and others who know victims.

The new guide is current best practices developed over the past 3 years by nearly a dozen of the world’s leading internet companies, was created in partnership between Suicide Awareness Voice of Education and Facebook. “Each of these companies has created amazing technology that has changed our world,” said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of SAVE. “Today we are excited to release the best practices for suicide prevention and social media as part of the effort to reduce suicide globally.” The tool was designed to be a living document that can be added to and modified as technology advances and research is conducted in the field.

“The community can always play a unique role in supporting someone who needs help, whether it’s online or off,” said Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer. “We’ve learned a lot about the power of community when it comes to suicide prevention, and are proud to work with mental health experts and other companies to share these lessons and save lives.”

The new guide follows the collaboration between participants who met in person, reviewed over 200 existing suicide prevention research articles and conducted additional expert review and discussions in developing the recommendations. Participants included officials from Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Tumbler, Twitter, WordPress, Yahoo, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Research Unit–Medical University of Vienna, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The guide was designed for use by those in the technology/online industry as well as suicide prevention organizations and agencies that might have websites, blogs with response options for readers, as well as other industries such as news organizations that might allow for user generated content on their website. An example of how 3 different types of users might implement these best practices:

    Online      Nonprofit suicide prevention     Newspaper with user
     company    agency                           generated content
    ----------     ----------------------------          -------------------

    Company     Agency has a website and         Company wants to develop a
     wants a    Facebook page; they would like   policy for user generated
     basic      standards for both               comments
    ---------  -------------------------------   --------------------------

     create:   They could create:               They could create:

    A basic     A policy for sharing/posting     A policy on user generated
     FAQ        and responding to suicidal       feedback
     section    content (that includes
     on         transparency to users,
     suicide    adherence to safe and
                effective messaging standards,

    A basic     A procedure for responding to    Provide transparency
     policy     user generated content           regarding their policy on
     on how                                      user feedback

    At least    Lists of resources for local     Have a system for
     one        and national assistance          monitoring user generated
     national                                    comments (automated or
     referral                                    live)

                                                 A statement listed after
                                                 the story and before the
                                                 user comment section on
                                                 the policy
    ---                                         -------------------------

Please check out Responding to a Cry for Help: Best Practices for Online Technologies by going to http://preventtheattempt.com.

About SAVE
SAVE’s mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide.

Learn more about online safety for suicidal content at www.preventtheattempt.com

Daniel Reidenberg, PsyD
612-741-1354; dreidenberg@save.org

SOURCE SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Source: PR Newswire