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 a broader young population.