"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable."
"We're seeing the drop in life expectancy not because we're hitting a cap [for lifespans of] people in their 80s. We're seeing a drop in life expectancy because people are dying in their 20s [and] 30s."
In an informal survey of roughly 50 U.S. based Instagram users, it was reported that:
- 40% of respondents report feeling uncomfortable confronting a loved one they feel is at-risk for suicide
- 30% of respondents would prefer to confront a loved one that they feel is at-risk for suicide via text, FaceTime, social media or another digital platform versus face-to-face
- 50% of respondents have used the internet to access resources to help themselves or a loved one through suicidal ideation
For a more widely known example, take Instagram's Suicide Prevention feature that was introduced in 2016, allowing users to flag content that led them to worry about the poster's wellbeing.
The feature is powerful and unique in its reliance upon the network to self-regulate. It also represents a noteworthy break from the ever-present algorithm. According to a CNN article "Instagram launches suicide prevention tool":
"The flagged posts will be reviewed by a team of people who are working 24/7, and will not rely on algorithms to judge whether someone is vulnerable."
"Memes about suicide remain largely uncharted territory. While disturbing, they’re far less graphic than actual depictions. And they’re often darkly funny. As the gatekeepers of social media are wrestling with how to police this trend, some suicide-prevention experts see a window of opportunity. Typically, suicide memers aren’t mocking suicidal thoughts; they’re commiserating and bonding over being suicidal. Morbid memes, these experts believe, may be a foot in the door to one of the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations: socially isolated young people."
To Write Love on Her Arms, also known as TWLOHA, is a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. The organization was founded by Jamie Tworkowski, author of If You Feel Too Much and outspoken mental health advocate.
The organization has built a platform for artists to share their messages of hope and inspiration through social networks like Twitter and Instagram. Most recently, TWLOHA raised more than $85,000 for the cause through a virtual 5k.
Why We Rise, an ongoing project of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, addressed local youth with suicide prevention messaging that took focus on issues of access, criminalization and stigmatization. This last issue, the stigma of mental health, is a key concern for at-risk youth where the intersection of cyber-bullying and self-identity complicate matters.
The campaign leveraged digital outlets and adopted an authentic visual identity, while adhering to evidence-based campaign tactics determined by the American Psychological Association.
On Our Sleeves is a mental health initiative to transform children’s mental and behavioral health put on by Nationwide Children’s Hospital headquartered in Columbus, OH.
As a leader in both the care and research of children’s mental health conditions, Nationwide is well-positioned to launch this initiative that leverages digital platforms to share resources for teachers and administrators, host a behavioral health webinar series and medical resources like prescribing guidelines.