Connect Vulnerable Youths by Activating their Social Networks

By September 19, 2017

Connect Vulnerable Youths by Activating their Social Networks

In light of the startling number of student suicide cases in Hong Kong recently, the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong (CSRP) is launching an innovative outreaching approach to connect the vulnerable youth via the power of social media. Popular YouTubers are the core and initial influencers of this project.

Suicide has been the leading cause of death for youth in Hong Kong for decades. As revealed in suicide notes, suicide adolescents had been bearing plenty of hidden sufferings. Among the distressed youth that were interviewed in a survey, only 7% sought formal help from social service while 78.9% had disclosed their distress online. Therefore we believe that social media is a promising channel to effectively and efficiently reach out and connect the vulnerable youngsters.

YouTube is selected to be the project platform, as a majority of Hong Kong young people are YouTube users. Some popular YouTubers have kindly expressed their willingness in contributing to suicide prevention, which laid a foundation for our collaboration. In addition, these YouTubers are also influential in other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. This allows us to extend the project’s impact across various social media.

In this project, CSRP’s suicide prevention professionals will engage some influential YouTubers with positive public image to be our core collaborators. We will work together to:

  • Initiate activities that aim to promote suicide prevention and help-seeking. These activities can be launched online or in the community
  • Reach out to online youth with suicide risk and encourage them to seek help
  • Refer high-risk cases to professionals for follow-up care and support
  • Recruit and engage online users who are not at risk and willing to contribute to suicide prevention to join in our cause. In this way, we aim to continuously extend our partnership network

All popular YouTubers and partners who participate in the project will be requested to attend suicide prevention training workshops delivered by CSRP. The training will empower them to properly address suicide issues and respond to suicide-related online comments.

Other than various social media-based online activities, we will also anchor with school and community initiatives, aiming at activating the social network diffusion effect to reach broader young population.

鑑於近年香港學生自殺個案趨升,香港大學香港賽馬會防止自殺研究中心 (CSRP) 正推行一個嶄新的外展計劃,透過社交媒體的力量去連繫有情緒困擾的青少年。這個計劃會由幾位受歡迎的香港YouTubers為先驅,與我們組成預防自殺的合作網絡。

自殺是香港青少年於這數十年的主要死因。從遺書上可看到,自殺的青少年長期承受着很大程度的壓力及痛苦。本中心的一項調查發現,只有7%有情緒困擾的受訪青少年有向專業社會服務尋求協助,反觀曾在網上透露困擾的有78.9%。這顯示出網上社交媒體是一個有效的渠道去廣泛接觸及連繫有情緒困擾的青少年。

由於絕大多數的香港年輕人都是YouTube用戶,加上一些受歡迎YouTubers表示有興趣為預防自殺作出貢獻,這奠定了我們和YouTubers的合作基礎。這些YouTubers在Facebook和Instagram等社交媒體亦有很大的影響力,因而能把計劃的影響擴展到其他社交媒體上。

在本項目中,CSRP的防止自殺專業人員會聯同一些高人氣及形象正面的YouTubers去:

  • 推行各種推廣預防自殺和鼓勵尋求協助的活動,這些活動可以在網上或社區中開展
  • 接觸在網上透露有自殺風險的青少年,並鼓勵他們尋求協助
  • 將高危案件轉介予專業人員跟進
  • 招募一些沒有自殺風險但願意為預防自殺作出貢獻的社交媒體用戶加入我們的計劃,藉此不斷擴大我們與社交媒體的合作網絡

獲邀參加計劃的YouTubers和其他合作夥伴需要接受CSRP提供的預防自殺培訓。培訓會加深他們對自殺問題的認識及學習如何妥善地處理與自殺相關的網上留言。

除諸多基於網絡社交媒體的活動之外,我們亦會與學校和社區團體合作,期望這個以社交媒體為軸心的外展計劃可以激活社會網絡滲透效應 (social network diffusion effect)去廣泛地接觸青年人。

Last update : September 19, 2017