South Africa’s Twitter users, who are searching for terms associated with suicide or self-harm, will receive a notification encouraging them to contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the microblogging and social networking service has said.
A similar prompt had previously been Twitter deployed in Nigeria and Kenya.
SADAG operates South Africa’s only suicide crisis helpline.
Speaking on the prompt, Emmanuel Lubanzadio, the head of Twitter’s public policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, said the social media platform’s community can be an important source of real-time support for anyone with suicidal thoughts.
He added that Twitter also has a dedicated reporting form for people threatening suicide or self-harm.
“A specialised team reviews these reports and upon receiving them, they will be in direct contact to let the individual know someone who cares about them identified they might be at risk,” he said.
The company launched a special emoji in the shape of an orange ribbon – the international symbol for World Suicide Prevention Day, which is on 10 September – which will appear when people tweet with the hashtags #WorldSuicidePreventionDay, #WSPD, #WSPD2020 and #SuicidePrevention this month.
Cassey Chambers, operations director at SADAG, said the prompt will help them reach more people who are thinking of attempting suicide.
“Many people turn to social media to share their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and to be able to give those people a resource to access help in a time of crisis is helpful to SADAG so we can help more people who feel like suicide is the only option,” he said.
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