Military and Social Media Minds Meet about Suicide Prevention at Pentagon

January 26, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

U.S. News and World Report

Military representatives, suicide prevention professionals, and social media experts recently gathered to discuss strategies to promote mental health and prevent suicide. Convened by the U.S. Department of Defense, the day-long symposium was led by outgoing Army Secretary Eric Fanning, who said that social media platforms provide an opportunity to reach large numbers of potentially at-risk soldiers and civilians. “Social media is a tool that can help us save lives,” he said. The discussion focused on how to leverage social media to spread awareness about mental health and suicide prevention, identify and assist those at risk, and provide access to services. Participants also explored the use of different types of information technology, such as mobile devices, to deliver prevention interventions and conduct research on suicide risk. According to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, technology should be used to foster emotional well-being through social connectedness and support. Said Murthy, “The foundation of connection is dialogue.”

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