Mental health continues to be a growing concern for Africa and increasingly, amongst young people in particular. That said, a lot can happen to you online or offline and no one can ever really understand what you are going through. These issues could lead you to want to end it all and as much as it might sound like the answer, that’s not the right way to go about it. That’s why Twitter is initiating a new suicide prevention feature that will try to help you through those tough times.
Twitter Works Towards Suicide Prevention
Starting today, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, when someone searches for terms associated with suicide or self-harm on Twitter in South Africa, the top search result will be a prompt encouraging them to reach out for help.
The notification includes the contact details of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). The NGO will provide critical mental health resources to people in need. Similar services have been launched in Kenya and Nigeria.
“Many people turn to social media to share their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and to be able to give those people a resource to access help in a time of crisis is helpful to SADAG so we can help more people who feel like suicide is the only option,” comments Cassey Chambers, operations director at SADAG.
Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Twitter says;
“The open Twitter community can be an important source of real-time support for anyone struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Addressing mental health requires collaboration between all stakeholders – public, private and not-for-profit. We’re pleased to partner with Amref Health Africa to encourage people in need to reach out for help.”
Threatening Suicide Reporting Forum
Twitter has a dedicated reporting form for people threatening suicide or self-harm. A specialised team reviews these reports and keep in direct contact with the individual. They do this to let them know that there is someone who cares about them.
From here, Twitter will provide online and hotline resources and encourage them to seek help. Twitter also shares information on their Help Centre both for people who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide and self-harm or concerned about others on Twitter.
In its continued partnership with the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), Twitter is launching a special emoji in the shape of an orange ribbon. This is the international symbol for World Suicide Prevention Day. The emoji will appear when people Tweet with the hashtags
- #SuicidePrevention through September 25 and is activated in 23 languages.