Social media has become an integral part of our lives. We use it to share photos and funny stories, talk about our political viewpoints and catch up with friends. It can also be a place where we feel comfortable talking about our struggles or our pain. It may be easier to write about how we feel behind a screen than sharing it with someone in person. When we’re struggling, we may isolate ourselves and social media becomes one of our only connections to others.
If you see a post from a friend or loved one that includes comments about self-harm or suicide, it’s important to take it seriously. Some posts may be very direct about the person’s thoughts and feeling while others may be vague and include references such as, “Life isn’t worth living- it’s hopeless” or “I won’t be in your way much longer.” Both types of comments need to be taken seriously.
Here are some steps on how to ACT if you see a concerning post.
- Learn to ACT
- Acknowledge – Take the post seriously. If you are noticing warning signs or see a post that is troubling, recognizing that something is wrong is the first step.
- Care– Take the initiative and show and/or voice your concern. When someone is suffering, it can be difficult for them to remember that people care.
- Treatment – Get someone the professional help they need. The best way to care for someone is to get them to an evaluation and to begin the treatment process. You can be the important link that someone needs to get connected to treatment.
- Use Professional Tools
If you believe your friend or loved one is in immediate danger, please call 911, your local police station or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.