NEW JERSEY: Senate Passes ‘Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act’

April 01, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
Speaker:  New Jersey

Military Times

With more people using social media to share about their lives, efforts are being developed to identify posts that might indicate suicidality as a way to reach and help people who are in crisis. During the last several years groups have come together on some social media sites to connect with military personnel and veterans in crisis. In 2015 the Defense Department undertook two studies to look at cues for suicide in social media posts with the goal of integrating its findings into existing suicide prevention efforts. These studies have produced recommendations for the department to 1) improve its knowledge about suicide and prevention, 2) include data from social media posts into psychological autopsies and wellness assessments, 3) include information about responding to social network posts in suicide prevention training, and 4) promote lifestyle choices that can increase resilience. Another initiative related to social media is a collaborative effort between Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and the International Association for Suicide Prevention to develop guidelines for bloggers and “citizen journalists” about writing on suicide and the Internet. Regarding using social media to reach people in crisis, Reidenberg says, “Social media gives us the opportunity to intervene because there are so many people involved and it can be done so quickly.”

Spark Extra! For more information on using social media to prevent suicide, see the news story “Monitoring social media to cut the suicide rate.”