Whilst the internet provides helpful resources for individuals experiencing self-harm and suicidal feelings, it does carry potential risks by presenting opportunities to access graphic content, details around methods of harm and content that glorifies or promotes self-harm and suicide.
The below is a non-exhaustive list of available resources to keep you safe online.
Coimisiún na Meán
In March 2023, Coimisiún na Meán became the new media regulator for online safety, television broadcasting, and video-on-demand services.
Coimisiún na Meán is currently developing Ireland’s first Online Safety Code. After consultation, the finalised Code will form part of Ireland’s overall online safety framework, making digital services legally accountable for how they keep people safe online. This framework will also include the EU Digital Services Act and the EU Terrorist Content Online Regulation, enforced in Ireland by Coimisiún na Meán.
Coimisiún na Meán is putting an online safety framework in place in Ireland. This framework will make digital services accountable for how they protect people, especially children, from harm online. We will enforce rules about how online services deal with illegal or harmful content.
Further information is available here.
- #chatsafe – #chatsafe is a suicide prevention program that aims to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to communicate safely online about self-harm and suicide. In 2018, Orygen developed the world’s first evidence-informed guidelines for young people to communicate safely online about suicide. The guidelines were developed in partnership with young people, media professionals and suicide prevention experts. #chatsafe also includes resources that aim to give adults the knowledge and skills they need to support young people in their lives to communicate safely online about self-harm and suicide. In 2022 the HSE NOSP reached a partnership agreement with Orygen Australia as part of their efforts to globalise resources for other countries. In 2024, the HSE NOSP in partnership with Orygen published the #chatsafe for parents and carers guide in Ireland.
- Managing self-harm and suicide content online: Guidelines for sites and platforms hosting user generated content – The guidelines have been developed by Samaritans for policymakers, moderators of websites and individuals wanting to ensure that they can protect users and employees from potentially harmful content on self-harm and suicide being posted on sites and platforms.
- Samaritans: The internet and suicide – A range of resources including online harm advisory service, Guidance for practitioners and Online Excellence Programme – a hub of resources relating to online suicide prevention.
- Information on language and suicide – Information from the HSE NOSP highlighting the importance of using sensitive and non-stigmatising language.
- Guide to reporting content to social media platforms: Reporting social media content that promotes suicide or self-harm – The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) 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 are available to order in the Mental Health section of www.healthpromotion.ie.
- The harmful impact of suicide and self-harm content online: A review of the literature – Research by the NSRF in Ireland which identifies, reviews and summarises the literature and evidence on the impact of harmful suicide or self-harm content online.
- Be Safe Online – Ireland’s official online safety hub by the Government of Ireland, providing access to a wide range of resources to support online safety for all.
- Webwise – Information for parents and young people on staying safe online. A website by the Department of Education which offers advice and education on online safety for young people, teachers and parents.
- My Little Toolkit – A tool-kit of self-care practices developed by the Family Resource Centre (FRC) National Mental Health Promotion Project which aims to provide individuals with tools that can support them on their self-care journey.
- Lifeline Online Postvention Manual – Recommendations by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) detailing how to safely memorialise someone who has died by suicide which can be applied to online memorials and online messages about the deceased.
- Recommendations for blogging on suicide – Best practices for blogging on suicide are a project of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and were developed with the guidance and expertise of an international advisory panel of experts and bloggers.
It is important to be mindful of the impact that exposure to negative online content such as conversations, videos or images relating to self-harm or suicide can have on your own wellbeing. Research has shown that even passive exposure (i.e., viewing content but not creating or posting content) to suicide or self-harm-related social media content can increase emotional disturbance and even suicide ideation in viewers, including in those with no prior history of suicide ideation. It is important to prioritise self-care at times when incidents or content related to suicide and self-harm impact on our well-being.
If you or someone you know is in urgent need of care, please see the services listed here.