#PauseBeforeYouPost campaign: A move to help young people have safe conversations with those in mental distress
When young people try to help friends in distress by urging them to "go to the Institute of Mental Health" or "find a counsellor", the way it is presented could instead trigger negative emotions.
Speaking to The New Paper, Samaritans Of Singapore's (SOS) chief executive officer Gasper Tan said: "Using judgmental phrases not only trivialises suicide but can also cause further distress to already vulnerable youth.
"Ultimately, we want to make Singapore a safer haven for individuals in crisis to seek help."
With today's youngsters so prolific on social media, Mr Tan believes it is crucial to educate the public on how to chat safely online and provide support to those with mental health issues.
Since last year's circuit breaker, SOS has attended to 30 per cent more calls for help on its 24-hour hotline.
It also noted that 70 per cent of the young people in distress were first-time users of its text messaging service.
On May 16, the first day of phase two (heightened alert), SOS saw a 40 per cent jump in calls.
In a bid to reframe mindsets and empower people to reach out to those in distress, SOS and Temasek Foundation have launched the #PauseBeforeYouPost social media campaign.
The campaign aims to equip young people with guidelines to facilitate safe and constructive conversations around suicide.
Mr Tan said: "With everyone staying home during this period, people, especially (young people), engage more with online platforms.
"While social media allows young people to express themselves and find a community, when reactions to their expressions of suicidality are unsafe, it could put (them) at greater risk of harming themselves. Encouraging a 'pause' to think before you speak or post reminds people to reflect on the consequences of their words."
Temasek Foundation has also committed $250,000 to develop a #chatsafe training curriculum, which seeks to equip young people with the skills to engage positively with suicide-related content online, while supporting those in distress around them.
The programme is expected to train up to 300 people aged 35 and below and reach approximately 75,000 more through the #PauseBeforeYouPost campaign.