Suicide Prevention Gets Hi-tech
A suicide prevention organization has launched a free app that flags disturbing tweets and sends an alert to followers. The app, Samaritans Radar, is currently available for Twitter users. It sends an alert to your email address when a person you follow tweets phrases such as “help me,” “tired of being alone,” “hate myself” and “need someone to talk to.” Experts helped come up with the list of words commonly used during difficult times. In addition to flagging tweets, the UK-based organization will help contact anyone you’re concerned about any time of the day or night.
Research suggests 70% of people who commit suicide tell someone their plans or give some warning signs. Warning signs of suicide are not difficult to spot and you don’t have to know how serious a person is in order to help them.
Some warning signs include:
• Life isn’t worth living.
• Family/friends would be better off without me.
• I won’t be around to deal with [something].
• I feel like there is no way out.
Behaviors such as:
• Giving away valuables or money.
• Getting affairs in order (i.e., settling debts or writing/updating a will).
• Obtaining a weapon.
Suicide is a serious symptom of severe depression. Other symptoms of depression include:
• Depressed or sad mood
• A change in the person’s sleeping patterns
• A significant change in the person’s weight or appetite
• Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
• Withdrawal from family and friends
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
If you suspect someone is suicidal, be direct and ask them “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” If you are concerned about this person, call or have the person call the National Suicide Prevention Phone Line at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 911 or take them to the closest emergency room.
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