Social Media and Suicide – The Facebook Creed

Friday, October 4, 2013


As our country moves more and more to social media with over 250 million connecting through Facebook and more visits to Facebook for week ending March 13, 2010 than Google; clearly our communication has evolved.  A new research study called the Durkheim Project is observing natural language used to communicate via social media and text messaging, determining phrases that may predict suicidal risk.  Although limited currently to veterans who are participating, the data gleaned through such a study may give light for  better understanding and intervention making marked advancements in giving some predictability to risk.   

The interesting fact is that what is lending itself to determining risk,  often times social media and Facebook have actually contributed to suicide deaths, mostly among teens and young adults.  Have you heard the term “Fakebook”?  Teens (and adults)  are utilizing Facebook to create an unrealistic life ideal by posting only the glamorous achievements and not taking time to share the struggles and difficulties.  This only contributes to friends feeling isolated and different.  As parents we need to be living authentic lives and helping our children do the same.  How do we break down the walls of flaunting on Facebook and instead expose ourselves with reality, good and bad? 

Hear the conversation and read between the lines.  Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair.  This is to make others aware but we also do not want those suffering to accept the guilt of their choice. 

In addition, social media lends itself to anonymity.  It’s like “using credit cards isn’t really using cash”, “using online criticism isn’t really me being mean or hurtful”.  Truth is, bullying and flippant put-downs can be devastating to someone in a fragile state. 

As we login to our social media we challenge everyone to  The Facebook Creed:

The Facebook Creed

Promise Yourself

To be so strong as to be willing to post the difficulties as well as the successes among my close friends.

To know we encourage or discourage with every comment.  I commit to encouragement.

To understand life is for “the living” and not for “the posting”.  I will set a time limit to Facebook.

To read between the lines and be an anchor of hope to someone hurting.

To take advantage and to teach others to use the “Report” link to notify Facebook of cyber-bullying.

To have the freedom to “unfriend” anyone who does not encourage or speaks hateful.

And to be so strong as to seek advice and help for any concern or problem.

Sympathy Solutions has been helping individuals receive the comfort and support from their friends and families for over a decade. We know how very important it is for those grieving to receive the support and to gather strength through difficult times. This is a trust we are honored to be given and want to join with you in offering your condolences.

Copyright © Sympathy Solutions