So when I got an alert yesterday morning that a student at a local high school had committed suicide at the school, I was shaken. It's not that I knew him -- I didn't. And it wasn't just because he was only 18 years old and just nine days away from graduating high school. It wasn't even because as a young black kid, I see my own kids in him, even if just a little bit.
It was mostly because he tweeted it.
there is going to be a suicide in the school right now— TIGERHOODS⚡️ (@marcuswheeler69) May 12, 2015
I was already reeling from the in-depth piece I read last week about Madison Holleran, the Penn State student who committed suicide last year. Similar to Wheeler, Holleran shared her life via social media. But unlike Wheeler, Holleran's posts tended to paint a portrait of happy student. Scrolling through Wheeler's timeline, I can sense his desperation and sadness in Tweets sent the day of – and days before – his death.
No motivation to do anything— TIGERHOODS⚡️ (@marcuswheeler69) May 12, 2015
its so ass being a softie— TIGERHOODS (@marcuswheeler69) May 12, 2015
While I've never seen anyone on my timeline specifically allude to harming themselves, how many times have I looked the other way when I see post after post, meme after meme, about how hard someone's life is? When is a Tweet or an Instragram post or a Facebook post just a vent? And when should we take it seriously?
According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, you should report a suicide threat any time they exhibit any of these warning signs.
If you know of a direct threat, you can contact the suicide hotline or local law enforcement. But if you see a threat online, the major social media sites even have ways that you can anonymously report someone you think may be thinking of harming him or herself. This includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. All reports can be made anonymously.
As for me, if you post a depressing meme, or I see a questionable Tweet or Facebook post, don't be surprised if I reach out to you, if I send you a note, just to see if you're OK. Because while it may be embarrassing for me to find out that something I thought was a suicide threat was a joke, I'd rather risk embarrassing myself than losing a friend.
If you suspect someone might be considering suicide, or you have struggled with those thoughts yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!