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#chatsafe: world-first guidelines help young people talk safely online about suicide

22 August 2018

A new set of guidelines to support safe, online conversations about suicide has been launched by Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

Everymind, which manages Mindframe, worked alongside Orygen to develop #chatsafe: A young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide.

The guidelines are designed to support young people who might be responding to suicide risk or suicide-related content posted by others, those who might be looking for information about support or help for suicidal feelings, or young individuals who might want to share their own feelings and experiences with suicide through their online channels.

As well as providing support and guidance on how to communicate on posts, #chatsafe also provides tips on appropriate language and images to use, how to share personal experience of suicidal behaviour, and guidance on how to respond to someone who may be suicidal.

The guidelines also aim to provide practical assistance for those people who support young people, such as parents, teachers and mental health professionals.

#Chatsafe is the first of its kind and was designed in partnership with young people and based on evidence.

“#Chatsafe is a great resource for providing guidance to young people in communicating safely about suicide online. Our Institute and the Mindframe team were proud to be involved in the development of these important guidelines to support our youth in having peer-to-peer social media conversations on the issue,” said Jaelea Skehan, Everymind Director.  

“#Chatsafe is also another innovative tool to support the recently launched #YouCanTalk national suicide prevention campaign aimed at giving people the confidence to respond to friends and family when they need help and guide them to the right support services,” she said.

Marc Bryant, Suicide Prevention Program Manager at Everymind, said having experts involved in the development of the world-first guidelines was important.

“Guidance from journalists, educators and Mindframe advisory groups, under the expertise of our Director Jaelea Skehan, has enriched the #chatsafe initiative to support safe online communications for young people.

“These guidelines provide a nice complement to our Mindframe resources for media and professional communicators on safe reporting, portrayal and communication about suicide and mental ill-health,” said Mr Bryant.  

The work on #chatsafe is funded by the Australian Government, under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.

The guidelines are available to download HERE

Orygen is holding a Webinar about #Chatsafe tomorrow, 23 August from 2-3pm EST, which includes an overview of the guidelines, how they were developed and the social media campaign to promote them.

To register, visit www.orygen.org.au/Education-Training/Resources-Training/Webinars/Upcoming-Webinars

Join Orygen’s Dr Jo Robinson and youth advisor Rikki Battersby for a special Facebook live event at 7pm on Monday 27 August, where they’ll discuss the #chatsafe guidelines and answer online audience questions HERE

Find out more information about the #YouCanTalk suicide prevention campaign at www.everymind.org.au/youcantalk