You Can Now Donate Your Social Media for Suicide Prevention Research

May 20, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Mighty

A new way of collecting data that may help researchers better understand why people take their lives and what can be done to prevent suicide has recently been developed. By studying the content of donated social media accounts, researchers hope to learn about the behavior of people who have attempted or died by suicide and use that information to develop technologies, such as apps, to help prevent suicide. Anyone who wants to donate data can go to and provide his or her social media links and fill out a quick survey. The data of someone who has not attempted suicide is also helpful. The data of a loved one who died by suicide can be donated if access to the person’s social media accounts is available. Once the data has been received, the site automatically makes it anonymous by removing information that could reveal the person’s identity, such as photos, names, and e-mail addresses. When enough data is gathered, it will be given to suicide prevention researchers. According to Tony Wood,one of the project’s creatorsand co-founder of Suicide Prevention Social Media Chat, “With the data that’s available now, you can do this kind of vague analysis, but you can’t really get into nitty-gritty stuff. In order to push forward and get real results, we need data from real people. And we need a lot of it.”

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