At the recent Summit hosted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Samaritans called on social media firms and internet providers to sign up to a new partnership that aims to tackle the issue of online content relating to suicide and self harm.
The proposal from the UK’s leading suicide prevention charity will be a world first as it seeks to create a hub of online excellence by working together with government and the biggest technology and social media firms.
Samaritans put forward a collective approach to deepen the understanding of how people are engaging with online content relating to self harm and suicide. With limited evidence currently available, the partnership will commit to a research programme that will engage users with lived experience, academics and industry experts.
This research will deliver greater insight into the complex and specific issues of suicide and self harm content, which can be interpreted to build a considered set of best practise guidelines that can be adopted by the sector. These industry standards will enable more effective removal of harmful content, whilst also improving access and engagement with content that can be a source of support.
Ruth Sutherland, CEO, Samaritans commented: “We look forward to building a strategic partnership with government and the world’s leading technology companies that will help us all tackle the issue of dangerous online content relating to self harm and suicide together.
“An innovative research programme will be the foundation for building our shared knowledge on this complex issue. We need to know more about how certain content affects different people. We all have a role to play in suicide prevention and, by working together, we believe this hub of online excellence will drive meaningful change on an issue that needs urgent attention.”
Samaritans is a charity working in the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who die by suicide and help those struggling to cope. Samaritans believes that suicide is everyone’s business and, by working in partnership, with others fewer people will die by suicide.