Suicide Prevention Through MySpace.com
Popular Internet Site Helps Build Awareness
What’s an effective way to raise awareness about SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline? As it turns out, it’s MySpace.com, one of the most popular online networking sites in the Nation.
People of all ages use MySpace to share photos, post their music and poetry, reconnect with old friends, and even make new friends.
And visitors to MySpace now have another reason to log on. SAMHSA is using the site to spread the word about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. A free, 24-hour resource for anyone who needs help, the Lifeline connects callers to more than 120 crisis centers across the country.
The Lifeline’s toll-free telephone number—1-800-273-TALK (8255)—is posted at www.myspace.com/suicidepreventionlifeline. The MySpace page also includes clear information about suicide warning signs, how the Lifeline works, and more.
More than 2,400 people have already chosen to become “friends” of the Lifeline’s page, which is expected to increase word-of-mouth referrals to the free telephone resource.
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How It All Started
In spring 2005, the administrators of the Lifeline Web site noticed increasing hits from MySpace—at the rate of about 60 to 80 per day.
As it turned out, several people on the networking site had posted the Lifeline logo on their pages and were directing visitors to the official Web site at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
MySpace quickly became the number one referrer to the Lifeline site, even surpassing the SAMHSA referrals. Noting the increase in traffic, SAMHSA’s Lifeline staff signed up for a customized page on MySpace.
In 2006, the Lifeline Web site received about 150,000 unique visitors referred by MySpace. Through May 2007, the Lifeline has received about 85,000 unique visitors.
“This new venture is helping us provide suicide prevention information to young people in an online space where they feel comfortable,” said A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). “Our MySpace page gives people an easily accessible link to important information about suicide prevention.”
In fact, the MySpace page is so popular that SAMHSA is exploring partnerships with other networking sites. Lifeline also is working with Facebook.com, a popular online communication site for college students, to keep the momentum going.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one component of the National Suicide Prevention Initiative, a multi-project program led by SAMHSA’s CMHS. (See SAMHSA News online, September/October 2005.)
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Supplementary materials for suicide prevention include Web banners and logos, public service announcements (PSAs), a
media outreach toolkit, wallet cards in English and Spanish, and business cards, flyers, and magnets.
To view and download materials, or to request PSAs, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Web site at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/campaign/promotional.aspx.
To learn about SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy, visit www.samhsa.gov. To view the Agency’s Lifeline Web page on MySpace, visit www.myspace.com/suicidepreventionlifeline.
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Why Call the Lifeline?
Calling SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-TALK (8255) connects you or a friend in need to more than 120 crisis centers across the country.
If you or someone you care about needs help:
Call to speak with someone who is ready to listen.
Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself.
Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area.
Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.
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