Professor Jo RobinsonProfessor & Lead, Suicide Prevention Research Unit, Orygen, University of Melbourne
Keynote Presentation: Young people, suicide prevention & social media
Co-Presentation with Dr Louise La Sala
Social media presents an important social context to consider when it comes to youth suicide prevention. For some young people, social media is an acceptable and non-stigmatising environment for them to communicate about their suicide-related thoughts and behaviours and to seek help. For others, coming across suicide-related content can be distressing and lead to copy-cat behaviour.
While there are guidelines for mainstream media to report on suicide safely, there was no guidance for young people or for the context of social media specifically. To address this gap, we developed the #chatsafe guidelines and social media campaign. The #chatsafe guidelines and campaign include information about sharing suicide-related experiences safely, supporting a friend, and communicating online after a death by suicide has occurred.
Since their creation, the #chatsafe guidelines are now accompanied by a suite of adult-facing resources, including #chatsafe for educators. The #chatsafe for educators’ resource is designed to help school staff support their students to communicate safely online about suicide and learn how to identify safe or unsafe social media posts.
In this presentation we will provide: 1) Up to date information on rates of, and risk factors for, suicide and self-harm in young people; 2) A framework for suicide prevention activities, including in schools; 3) A discussion of the challenges and benefits of using social media to communicate about suicide; and 4) Some practical tips for how educators can model safe language when talking about suicide, empower their students to safely engage with suicide-related content on social media, and equip students to make decisions about the way they engage with this content.
Professor Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson is a Professor at Orygen, the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, where she leads the suicide prevention research unit.
Prof Robinson’s work focuses on the development, and testing, of novel interventions that specifically target at risk youth across settings, on evidence synthesis, and on the translation of research evidence into practice and policy. Her work has a strong focus on the potential of social media platforms in suicide prevention. This includes the development of the #chatsafe guidelines, the first evidence-based best practice guidelines for safe peer-peer communication about suicide online.