September 10 2019 is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year, we are continuing our partnership with the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). We are 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 below hashtags until the end of September.
One of the key ways that we do this is via a range of valued partnerships with suicide prevention and counselling services accross Asia Pacific. This includes our partnership with Samaritans of Singapore (@samaritansofsg) to offer a notification service on Twitter which provides valuable mental health resources to vulnerable people and encourage them to reach out and get help when they need it. #ThereIsHelp is available for people in the US, UK, Australia, Korea, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and is launching this year in Sweden, Italy, Belgium and France.
Across Asia Pacific, Twitter is working with partners on the following activities:
- In Australia, we are partnering with RUOK (@ruok), a suicide prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations. Twitter is supporting with an #AdsForGood grant and will be streaming live from our #BlueRoom studio ahead of RUOK Day in Australia on 12 September. Additionally, we will be launching a Like to Remind campaign, which will send a prompt from RUOK’s Tweets are liked.
- In Hong Kong, we are partnering with Mind Hong Kong (@mindhongkong), a local mental health charity whose mission is to ensure no one in Hong Kong has to face a mental health problem alone. We are supporting #HowOKayAreYou with an #AdsForGood grant. The campaign is a call-to-action encouraging Hong Kongers to check in on each other as part of their daily routine in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on October 10.
- In India, we are partnering with the White Swan Foundation (@mentalhealthind) through providing an #AdsForGood grant and supporting their campaign in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2019, which theme this year is suicide prevention.
- In Japan, in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day this year, Twitter Japan held two streaming programs on the theme of social withdrawal "Hikikomori", a social issue in Japan. On August 26, we worked with "withnews" of Asahi Shimbun and invited guest speakers to our #BlueRoom studio. They had experience of social withdrawal in the past and talked about how Twitter could be a place to connect with society, even if you cannot leave your home. On August 31, we worked with NHK's program @nhk_heart, and had a well-known media personality, Shoko Nakagawa to discuss this issue and the challenges faced by young people in Japan. We are also supporting a number of partners including Tokyo Suicide Prevention Center (@tokyo9090), a member of Befrienders, and providing an #AdsForGood grant respectively.
- In Korea, We are supporting Lifeline Korea (@LifelineKorea) with an #AdsForGood grant that will strengthen the #LoveYourLife and #OrdinaryDays campaigns. These awareness raising initiatives on Twitter focus on the importance of an ordinary and average day that carries a strong meaning from a mental health perspective while driving relevant conversations.
- In the Philippines, we are working closely with Mental Health PH (@mentalhealthph), an organisation that aims to create a safe community of people and friends of people with mental health problems. With volunteers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; the organisation envisions an inclusive and empowered community for people affected by mental health problems. Twitter is supporting @mentalhealthph to promote and raise awareness on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with #AdsForGood. We also partner with Crisis Line by In Touch Community Services (@Crisis_Line_PH). Established in 1980, Crisis Line is dedicated to promote mental health with 24/7 hotlines to raise awareness on World Suicide Prevention Day.
- In Singapore, we are supporting our #TwitterForGood partner, Samaritans of Singapore (@samaritansofsg), with an #AdsForGood grant supporting their #HopeThroughtheNight campaign, running from 1 - 14 September. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of suicide prevention in Singapore, specifically by encouraging people to share messages of support using their hashtag.
- In Thailand, we are partnering with Samaritans of Thailand (@Samaritans_Thai), an NGO working to prevent suicide and support those who have lost someone to suicide. We support Samaritans of Thailand with #AdsForGood and training to promote their 24/7 hotline (available in Thai and English) to raise awareness on suicide prevention and mental health nationwide.
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 important services. Mental health service providers globally are increasingly providing critical services via digital and social channels in order to meet the changing needs of society, and reach a younger audience.
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. Communities on Twitter are a source of positive support; encouraging those who may be struggling to reach out for professional help.
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 be in direct contact and let them know that someone who cares about them identified that they might be at risk. We will provide 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 others on Twitter.
The real time, open and public nature of Twitter presents an opportunity for us to support those at risk through awareness raising, and providing access and support to those who are suffering to connect with organisations who can help.
Our partnerships and initiatives across the world continue to support and make a positive contribution to the ongoing efforts to collectively address suicide and self harm in society today.