Twitter Saves a Life, But Suicide Remains Serious Online Problem
I’m sorry, but I’m a bit aghast at this story of someone randomly twittering their suicidal thought to Demi Moore, and then a bunch of people who saw it retweeted by Demi called the police. The police found the person who said they were going to kill themselves, and that person is now under psychiatric evaluation.
I guess this is “news” because someone sent it to Demi Moore. Demi Moore is a celebrity, so anything that touches her is defacto “news.” Does this mean the only way we can get attention/help for mental health issues in the U.S. is by tweeting a celebrity? Really, has it come to that?
Meanwhile, the web has been saving (and in some cases, not saving) lives for 15+ years. The Samaritans, a nonprofit charity dedicated to helping suicidal people make it through another day, has had an email address suicidal people could write to for most of that time. How many lives has this organization alone saved? I’d hazard to guess thousands, easily. Maybe even tens of thousands in that time. News organizations could focus on the immense amount of suicidal activity that goes on everyday online. Instead, the ABC News article is filed under “entertainment” and focuses on twitter and celebrities! How screwed up is that for priorities in news?!
But nobody writes stories about boring charities that go about doing their hard, emotional work every day, staffed by trained volunteers.
No, instead we have these celebrity-obsessed stories about a single life that was saved by the latest popular social network, as though it was more important than the other dozens of lives that were saved by anonymous volunteers. Or by the hundreds of ordinary people who work to help people who are going through suicidal thoughts in self-help communities like our own.
Kudos to Ms. Moore for not ignoring the twitter and going about her life. She took action and it may have saved that person’s life. But it’s only a symptom of a huge, undiagnosed problem of suicide online. It’s one deserving of more serious attention and resources than that focused on a single celebrity’s actions.
Read the full article: Did Demi Moore’s Twitter Feed Stop a Suicide?.
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Grohol, J. (2009). Twitter Saves a Life, But Suicide Remains Serious Online Problem. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/03/twitter-saves-a-life-but-suicide-remains-serious-online-problem/