Thursday, March 05, 2015

Does anonymous, informal, suicide counselling work?

Reddit and suicide intervention: How social media is changing the cry for help, and the answer.

Quite a detailed, interesting, article here on informal suicide quasi-counselling on Reddit and other on line forums.   I also learnt about one strange corner of the net that's new to me:
A couple of years ago, a mini-controversy erupted on Wizardchan, an online forum for reclusive male virgins. The site’s name is borrowed from a viral joke—the punch line is that when a man reaches age 30 without having sex, he’ll acquire magic powers—but the premise has amassed a base of sincerely dedicated users who go to the forum to comment on boards dedicated to hobbies, random thoughts, anime, and depression. After seeing that some posters in the depression board were discussing suicide plans and
self-harm, an administrator pinned a crisis hotline number to the board, encouraging users to pick up the phone if they were truly at risk.
Wizards were offended at the suggestion. This was a bunch of guys who had built a community around their own outsider status, and now some authority figure was stepping in to tell them that they had problems that needed to be fixed in the most conventional way possible: by calling a 1-800 number. The number was eventually removed from the board, and when one user recently suggested that Wizardchan bring it
back, another explained, “I think most people here are over normie advice, talking to some random guy who doesn’t understand where you’re coming from on the phone isn’t going to help them.” Another user said that hotline workers are just “not trained to handle the problems we face as [wizards]. It’s kind of sad how society treats us.”

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