Teens: Donate Your Social Media to Help Prevent Suicide


Okay, your social media content might be a little personal and you likely wouldn’t want to share it with people who are going to investigate it. But what if it were used to prevent a friend, classmate, or peer from taking their own life?


Researchers have developed a new way of collecting data that can help them better understand why people commit suicide. Their hoping that this new way also provides them with insights into what can prevent suicide. Although it might sound odd, researchers are now asking for anyone who is willing to donate their social media accounts. With this kind of information, mental health scientists can study the behavior of people who have attempted suicide or who have already passed away because of suicide.


In turn, that information can be used to develop tools that other teens can use to stay alive. For instance, social media information can be used to create apps on your phone, websites with suicide prevention material based upon the insights learned from the content researchers receive.


Are you interested?


Then, go to OurDataHelps.org and fill out the survey there. You’ll also provide links to your social media sites. Researchers suggest that the social media accounts of those who have not attempted suicide can also be helpful. So, even if you haven’t ever thought about suicide you can still donate your data. Or if you know of someone who has already died by suicide, and you have access to their social media accounts, you can donate that too.


Don’t worry all your information remains entirely confidential. In other words, no one is going to know that your social media links are being used for research. Once you fill out the survey and submit the information, all of your personal information is removed making the data entirely anonymous. The site automatically removes information that can reveal a person’s identity, such as photos, names, and e-mail addresses.


When enough people have donated their data and there is plenty for researchers to investigate, it will be given to suicide prevention scientists. One of the creators of OurDataHelps.org explained why collecting social media data is so important:


“With the data that’s available now, you can do this kind of vague analysis, but you can’t really get into nitty-gritty stuff. In order to push forward and get real results, we need data from real people. And we need a lot of it.”


If you want to help prevent suicide at your school, in your neighborhood, or even in your circle of friends, consider donating your social media information. If you have questions or concerns about making a donation, contact OurDataHelps.org. Or talk to an adult you trust about your concerns. It’s important to know that your personal information will never be shared. And in turn, you could save another teen’s life!