September 10, 2018, is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the theme for this year is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide'.
In recognition of this important event, Twitter, in partnership with the International Association for Suicide Prevention, is launching a special emoji in the shape of an orange ribbon — the international symbol for World Suicide Prevention Day. The emoji will appear when people Tweet with the hashtags #WorldSuicidePreventionDay, #SuicidePrevention, #WSPD, and #WSPD2018 from 7-16 September.
We are also pleased to announce the launch of #ThereIsHelp notification service in Australia in partnership with @LifelineAust.
#ThereIsHelp is a notification service on Twitter which provides valuable mental health resources to vulnerable people and encourages them to reach out and get help when they need it.
When a user searches for terms associated with suicide or self-harm, the top search result is a notification encouraging them to reach out for help. The notification provides the contact details of Lifeline Australia.
#ThereIsHelp is also available for users in Japan, Korea and the US, and is also launching in Brazil, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Spain, and Hong Kong.
According to the World Health Organisation, almost 800,000 people die due to suicide every year — or one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.
At Twitter, we believe that addressing mental health requires collaboration between all stakeholders — public, private and not-for-profit — and we recognise that we have a role and responsibility to help ensure that people in Australia can access and receive support when they need it most.
In addition to our partnership with Lifeline Australia, we also have partnerships with Black Rainbow (@BlkRnBow), a social enterprise specialising in suicide prevention and social outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA community. We also work with Beyond Blue (@beyondblue) as one of Twitter’s safety partners to address issues associated with depression, suicide, anxiety disorders, and other related mental disorders.
Suicide prevention remains a complex challenge, but at Twitter we believe it’s important that people who are struggling are seen and heard so that they can get the help they need.
The various communities on Twitter are a source of positive support; encouraging users who may be struggling not to self-harm and to reach out for professional help.
In addition, NGOs often use Twitter as a channel to identify and reach out to vulnerable people who they may otherwise not have contact with and to raise awareness of their important services. The presence of these organisations is indicative of a trend we see globally in the way mental health service providers are digitising in order to meet the changing needs of society, especially to reach a younger audience. Increasingly, we see mental health organisations offering critical services via digital channels and social media platforms that are relevant, widely used, and reflective of the way society communicates today.
We have a dedicated reporting form for people threatening suicide or self-harm, and a specialised team who review these reports. When we receive reports that a person is threatening suicide or self-harm, we will contact the reported user and let him or her know that someone who cares about them identified that they might be at risk. We will provide the reported user with available online and hotline resources and encourage them to seek help.
We also provide information on our Help Centre both for people who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide and self-harm, and for people who are concerned about another Twitter user.
We believe #ThereIsHelp available, and Twitter’s partnerships and initiatives in this area make a valuable contribution to the ongoing and larger efforts required to address this serious issue.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek help. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online here between 7pm and midnight AEST.