Dr Louise La SalaResearch Fellow in Suicide Prevention, Orygen
Keynote Presentation: Young people, suicide prevention & social media
Co-Presentation with Professor Jo Robinson
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.
Dr Louise La Sala
Dr Louise La Sala is a Research Fellow at Orygen, Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on youth self-harm and suicide prevention, with a specific interest in the impact of social media on the mental health and well-being of young people. Dr La Sala is a lead researcher on the #chatsafe program of work which aims to provide young people, educators, and families with the tools to communicate safely online about self-harm and suicide. Her work investigates the complex relationship between social media and youth mental health, and she brings unique expertise in developing effective strategies to promote online safety and prevent self-harm and suicide among young people.