Don't brush off talk of suicide on social media: SOS

Since 2016, at-risk users of Instagram have been directed to local community helplines when they search for hashtags of keywords such as "suicide", "self harm" or "depression".
Since 2016, at-risk users of Instagram have been directed to local community helplines when they search for hashtags of keywords such as "suicide", "self harm" or "depression".ST PHOTO: ROSALIND ANG

Safer to take it that user is not really seeking attention but in need for help, say Samaritans

While suicidal thoughts expressed on social media might be brushed off as an attempt to seek attention, they could signal a real need for support, said the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) in response to the recent controversy surrounding photo-sharing app Instagram.

The social-media platform with approximately one billion monthly active users hit the headlines for the wrong reasons earlier this week when a teenage girl in Malaysia reportedly jumped off a building after she polled her followers on the app if she should live or die. The majority - 69 per cent - had voted for "death".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Don't brush off talk of suicide on social media: SOS '. Print Edition | Subscribe