The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention has produced a helpful booklet outlining how social media content that promotes suicide or self-harm, can be harmful, and how to report it.
Copies of this booklet, and a supporting poster, are available to order in the Mental Health section of www.healthpromotion.ie.
Most of the time, the internet is a great place where we can connect with others and widely share positive messages or information. But sometimes, social media posts, videos, pictures and articles can be damaging when they show or promote suicide.
Harmful information about suicide can be readily accessible online, but social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and YouTube all recognise the hurt that content like this can cause, and do not allow pro-suicide content on their platforms.
If you come across a post, video, picture, article or link to a website that promotes suicide or self-harm, you should report it to the platform directly. This is the best and quickest way of having it removed.
Reporting potentially harmful content like this is very important. For example, we know that the more access people have to information on the methods of suicide, the more likely it is for them to carry it out. This kind of information makes people vulnerable by validating any suicidal feelings they might be having, and it also shows suicide as a legitimate course of action.
The production of this booklet by the National Office for Suicide Prevention is supportive of objective 1.4 of Connecting for Life: “Engage and work collaboratively with the media in relation to media guidelines, tools and training programmes to improve the reporting of suicidal behaviour within broadcast, print and online media”.
For Related Information and Resources
- Webwise- Information, advice and free education resources addressing a range of internet safety issues and concerns.
- Be Safe Online - The Governments campaign to highlight ways to help you stay safe online. The site provides access to a wide range of online safety resources, to support online safety for all.
- SpunOut.ie - An Online Safety Hub for younger people. It contains easy guides and privacy, safety and security tips, applicable across all types of online platforms and services.
- Headline- Ireland's national programme for responsible reporting, and representation of suicide and mental health.