How we talk about suicide on social media…

Content note: references to suicide

With the recent death of Anthony Bourdain, many people took to social media to express their grief. A high profile death can bring people together on social media, expressing support for each other while talking about individual and personal struggles with suicidal thoughts.

It’s also a good reminder to check in on our friends and family, offering to listen to any distress they are experiencing and ask how we can help, while also telling them how much we love them.

However, we need to be careful how we talk about suicide. Whether or not we consider social media to be ‘publishing’ platforms, it can be helpful to keep in mind the Samaritans guidelines on suicide reporting.

In particular, it is useful to be mindful of these points:
“Don’t brush over the complex realities of suicide and its impact on those left behind. Remember that people bereaved by suicide are often vulnerable and are more likely to take their own lives than the general population.”
“Speculation about the ‘trigger’ for a suicide, even if provided by a close family member, should be avoided.”

Although the standards of behaviour on social media can leave a lot to be desired, at times of loss and distress, maybe we can all be a bit kinder to each other…

For further support, please have a look at these websites: