Headspace to partner with Facebook to combat youth suicide
Social media giant Facebook is offering national youth mental health organisation, headspace, free targeted advertising to promote positive mental health messages in an effort to combat high rates of youth suicide.
The messages will roll out to Facebook users in 11 regional communities across Australia. Headspace hopes by being proactive with their mental health messages they can help young people in distress before suicidal thoughts take hold.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research show suicide rates are at a ten year high, making it more important than ever to get the message out that help is available to young people should they need it.
"We're trying to be proactive, as opposed to waiting for those figures to go up," National manager of headspace School Support, Kristen Douglas, told the ABC.
Douglas said recent studies showed social media as one of the best ways to connect with young people.
"We're using social media because young people are on their news feeds, Facebook, Instagram, every day.
"We figured if we could make this an everyday thing that they see, it might reduce some of the stigma and actually increase some of their help-seeking."
Douglas said previous targeted ads on social media have had great success.
“We've released ads on a Thursday or Friday and within 48 hours or 72 hours, we've had well above 10,000 hits on that ad, and we've had hundreds of kids go through to a service," Douglas said.
The announcement of the targeted social media advertising campaign comes just one day after a new study by headspace found one in five young Australians also have trouble controlling their anger.
Vikki Ryall, headspace Head of Clinical Practice, said anger can become a problem for the young person when it occurs frequently, is at high intensity and leads to outbursts or violent behaviour.
“It’s important that people listen to their anger and think about what to do before acting,” Ryall said. “Working out what anger means is a much better solution than acting without thinking.”
However Ryall reiterated that the expression and experience of anger is a normal emotional function. “Learning to be aware of emotions and to express them appropriately is a part of good mental health.”
If you need to support, in Australia you can call: QLife Australia on 1800 184 527 or www.qlife.org.au 3pm-midnight in your state (LGBTIQ service).
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800