Samaritans is developing a hub of excellence in suicide prevention and the online environment, working in partnership with Department of Health and Social Care, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest.
The three-year programme aims to promote consistently high standards across the sector by providing a centralised space for those working in and around the industry to find support and guidance, providing opportunities to convene and share best practice. The programme includes:
A research and insight programme – the Online Excellence Programme is shaped by a research programme which aims to better understand the impact of self-harm and suicide content online and what makes content harmful, when and to whom including exploring the impact of removing content on vulnerable users.
The summary of our latest research into how social media users experience self-harm and suicide content, conducted by Professor Ann John and Dr Amanda Marchant at Swansea University is available here.
Samaritans will be using this research over the coming months to update our Industry Guidelines on how platforms should manage this content in a safe and sensitive way.
Industry guidelines – developed in collaboration with government, industry, academics and third-sector organisations, our guidelines support sites and platforms in managing self-harm and suicide-related content online using safe and sensitive approaches. They are made up of best practice principles to help sites minimise access to potentially harmful content and maximise opportunities for support.
An online harms advisory service – aimed at sites and platforms, as well as professionals working in this space, such as voluntary sector organisations and people working in public or mental health services. The advisory service provides bespoke and confidential advice and support on managing issues relating to self-harm and suicide content online, with the aim of reducing the risk of harm this content can pose to users.
A hub of online safety resources – a series of resources will be developed to help people to stay safe online when posting or viewing content relating to self-harm and suicide. These will be co-designed with people with personal experience and will be aimed at young people, parents, teachers and clinicians