Suicide prevention at Lake Tahoe: Know these social media safety protocols

Lisa Stekert
Suicide Prevention
Remember — there is always help, and it's just a click or a phone call away.
Getty Images | iStockphoto

Other regional resources

Crisis Resources:

Nevada County Crisis Line: 530-265-5811

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 530-885-2300

Access to Mental Health Services:

Placer County Adult: 530-581-4054

Placer County Children: 1-866-293-1940

Nevada County Adult and Children: 530-582-7803

Therapy Services:

Directory of local therapy services: Visit and go to Quick Links.

With the popularity and availability of smart phones, most of us, including young people, are connected to the Internet and social media frequently throughout the day. The online world has become a place where many people feel comfortable expressing their thoughts.

Researchers have turned to social media as a tool for suicide prevention to reach those in distress.

Social media-suicide connection is most prevalent among youth, a group with both high rates of suicide and presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has partnered with social networking sites to improve safety protocols. Through these partnerships Lifeline works with online safety teams to reach users in distress quickly and efficiently.

Here is an overview of popular Social Media sites and how the online community can assist in reaching out to others who may be in distress.


A service that began in January 2015 relies on the Facebook community to report suicidal behavior.

If someone you know creates a post that leads you to believe that he or she could be thinking about self-harm, you can click on the arrow at the top right of the post to “Report Post.”

You will be given the option to contact the friend who made the post or contact a suicide helpline.

Facebook will assess the post and determine if the post indicates distress; they will contact the person who posted it via email and encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK *8255).

The next time the person logs on they will be greeted with pop-up options to either “talk to someone” or “get tips and support.”

If the person decides they’d like to talk to someone, they will be prompted to call a friend, send a message to a friend through Facebook message or contact a suicide helpline.

From there they can either call or start an online chat with a counselor.


Twitter users can report suicidal behavior from the bottom right corner of a tweet or using the “Twitter Help Center-“ and reporting self-harm.

Twitter assesses the report and will contact the user and let them know someone who cares for them thought they might be at risk.

The user will be provided with online and hotline resources and encouraged to seek help.

Instagram and Snapchat

Similar to Twitter, Instagram users have the option to report a post or image for self-harm or suicidal content by a tap or clicking on the post.

At, there is a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as allowing users to report a safety concern under “I need help” section.


If you notice that an online user in distress is someone that you know and you can provide his or her contact information, you can call Lifeline directly at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact local law enforcement. If you do not know a user, the following are ways to report your concerns at individual sites:

Facebook: To report – Help – Security – Sensitive Issues.

Twitter: Report the item to @safety.

MySpace and You Tube: The reporting feature can be found on the user’s profile.

Local Resources

The Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention Coalition has adopted the Know the Signs program to provide individuals with tools to find the words and reach out to those in distress. By recognizing these signs, knowing how to start a conversation and where to turn for help, you have the power to make a difference — the power to save a life.

Please visit to learn more about this program, find the words and reach out.

The Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention Coalition provides free training for Know the Signs to individual groups or businesses. For training inquiries please reach out to Lisa Stekert at 530-582-6733 or For more information about the Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention Coalition visit

To connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call 1-800-273-8255, and in a medical emergency always dial 911.

Lisa Stekert is the facilitator for the Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention Coalition and Outreach Coordinator for the Tahoe Truckee Prevention Task Force. Contact her at or by calling 530-582-6733.

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