Active Minds Blog » social media Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 25 May 2016 12:46:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Emerging Scholars Fellowship: 3 Ways Facebook is Working to Prevent Suicide Tue, 12 Apr 2016 16:33:34 +0000 Janelle is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Janelle and her fellow scholars here.

Within the past few years, we have seen a number of people post messages or pictures to their Facebook page within hours of ending their life.  Since then, Facebook has been proactive in taking steps towards preventing suicide by providing information to persons currently experiencing suicidal ideation, and alerting others to potential warning signs and tips for helping someone who might be suicidal. Check out some of Facebook’s specific steps below.

1. Both users who might be suicidal and those who are concerned about them can get help. Facebook implemented its first plans to prevent suicide in 2011, but efforts were both expanded and updated in February 2015 when Facebook joined forces with various mental health organizations (i.e. Now Matters Now, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc.) by creating more user-friendly resources.

Users now have the option to flag content on their timeline as problematic, and from there are prompted to select from a list of options including getting help professional or having Facebook review the post and contact the person of concern directly. You can read more about the specific updates here.

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2. Specific information is now available for members of some traditionally under-served groups. Special information is listed for members of the U.S. Military and law enforcement, along with additional information being made available for persons who identify on the LGBT spectrum. The Trevor Project , Veterans Crisis Line, and Safe Call Now are just a few groups who have worked with Facebook to raise awareness surrounding suicide.

And although these efforts are absolutely critical and very much needed, it is important to remember that there are other groups (i.e. racial & ethnic minorities) who also experience many barriers when seeking mental health treatment— and could potentially benefit from having specific information made available to them via Facebook. I’m hopeful that future iterations of Facebook’s suicide prevention plan will include information for members of other typically overlooked groups.

  1. Facebook has also worked to provide contact information for suicide prevention groups in over 30 countries. No matter if users are in South Africa, Lithuania or the Czech Republic, phone numbers, videos, and website links are now available for users who have questions or concerns related to suicide in regions across the globe.

There are many other contributions Facebook has made in working to combat suicide, so please be sure to visit the Suicide Prevention tab in the Safety Tools & Resources section of their Help Center to learn more.


If you are someone that you know is struggling and needs help please be sure to pass along the information listed below.

If you prefer information via telephone:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Alliance on Mental Health Hotline: 1-800-950-6264

If you prefer information via text message:

Crisis Text Line (

Phone #: 741-741

If you prefer information via the web:

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Examining the Links Between Suicide and Social Media among Young Black Men Tue, 08 Mar 2016 15:58:38 +0000 Janelle is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Janelle and her fellow scholars here.

*Trigger warning: This post discusses suicide and contains content that may be triggering to some people.*

Last month, we lost another young black man to suicide. His name is MarShawn McCarrel and he was a 23-year-old leader within the Black Lives Matter Movement. I did not know MarShawn, but his story touched me – not only because the world lost a promising and faithful leader, but also because MarShawn posted a concerning message to his Facebook page shortly before ending his life:

marshawn fb post

You can read more about his story here.

We have seen a recent trend among other young black men who also took to their social media accounts before dying by suicide.


From left to right: Freddy E; Merrick McKoy and his daughter, Mia; and Billy Watts.

Freddy E, a popular YouTube star and rapper, posted a series of Tweets to his fans and family members.

Merrick McKoy also died by suicide, but first uploaded both a picture with his daughter and message to Facebook.

Billy Watts shared a series of photos on with disheartening captions on Instagram, along with releasing one of his recorded songs via YouTube prior to ending his life.

From this it is evident that social media played a significant role in each of their deaths. However, I have since then begun to question whether social media could have been influential in saving each of their lives.

Research has shown that traditional mental health services (i.e. psychotherapy), are oftentimes found to be culturally insensitive and remain underutilized among black Americans. Therefore, utilizing social media as a tool for mental health promotion seems like both a feasible and promising plan.

Demetrius Haddon (who goes by the username @MeechOnMars on social media) has already taken this next step by partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to develop a video where he bravely discusses his experience with depression and suicidal thoughts.  Demetrius shared the video on his 18th birthday, March 1, 2016, – a birthday he wasn’t sure if he would live to see. Check out the inspiring video here.

Because Demetrius has over 1 million followers on Vine, 150 thousand followers on Instagram, and nearly 84 thousand followers on Twitter, his video has the ability to reach people in places that traditional research typically would not be able to.

Therefore, if we can continue to have more courageous young people share their personal stories then it is likely that the stigma surrounding mental health will lessen and others will begin to feel more comfortable speaking up.  Although we still have a long way to go, the lives of all of the aforementioned young black men should prompt us to reconsider our current approaches toward mental illness.  Let us all remember that we should never feel ashamed for needing help, and let us hold on to the hope that things can and will get better.


If you are someone that you know is struggling and needs help please be sure to send them the information below.

If you prefer information via telephone:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Alliance on Mental Health Hotline: 1-800-950-6264

If you prefer information via text message:

Crisis Text Line:
Phone #: 741-741

If you prefer information via the web:

General Mental Health Information:

Student Resources:

Facebook & Instagram help sites:

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Meet My Mentor: Dr. Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd Thu, 03 Mar 2016 15:27:45 +0000 Corey is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Corey and her fellow scholars here.

Dr. MorenoI’ve been lucky enough to be paired with Dr. Megan
Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Moreno focuses on adolescents and technology use, and her most recent study focuses on self-harm on Instagram.

Originally Dr. Moreno was a pediatrician, where she saw a rise of social media use among her adolescent patients.  With that prevalence of social media use among teens, Dr. Moreno saw many of her patients dealing with cyberbullying, which is why she decided to work so closely with cyberbullying research.  I’m lucky to have someone who is so knowledgeable about cyberbullying to help me whenever I need her!

So far, Dr. Moreno has offered invaluable support and advice.  Knowing that I have someone in my corner, even when she’s 2,000+ miles away in Seattle, is a fantastic feeling.  I’m excited to continue working with Dr. Moreno and to see how she helps my project grow.

Project Update:

I’m officially IRB approved, and I will begin testing my participants when Loyola gets back from spring break!

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Meet Corey Falls Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:11:27 +0000 Corey is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Corey and her fellow scholars here.

Picture1 corey

(Photo Credit: Lauren Anzevino)

Hi! I’m Corey, and yes, although my name can be confusing I am, in fact, a girl! So, let’s get to know each other a bit. I’m a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland (#GoHounds) studying psychology. I’m an Evergreen Orientation Leader on campus, which means that I love ice breakers and I can recite my name, hometown, major and 3 fun facts in record speed.

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Corey (red) and the Evergreens at Fall Orientation

In case you were wondering those fun facts are: I’ve swam with sharks, I’ve performed at Walt Disney World with my high school choir and I have a backwards tooth (don’t ask).

I am also involved in Loyola’s chapter of Psi Chi and Psych Club. Aside from academics, I play on an intramural volleyball team and I play the ukulele.

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Reigning Intramural Volleyball Champions

Now that you know a little about me, it’s time to find out more about my project!

Have you ever heard of Yik Yak? Nope?  Well, to put it simply its anonymous twitter where anyone within a certain mile radius can post about anything they want.

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Yik Yak logo

Sometimes this is used for SpongeBob quotes, and other times it can be used to make fun of other students, professors, or administrators. After seeing the harm in anonymous social media, I set out to experiment with it and determine the effects it has on college students

I’ll be studying cyberbullying and the role cyber bystanders (both anonymous and public) play in effecting the bullying that occurs in social media apps. For my experiment, I will be using the app that makes large group messages possible (in the wise words of DJ Khaled, #blessup) GroupMe to create controlled chat rooms.

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GroupMe logo

While I hope that my faith in humanity will be restored through this study, I also hope to understand the differences between anonymous and public social media.

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We Like You. Will You Like Us Back? Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:02:27 +0000 unnamed

We created the Chapter Network Facebook as another space to send you important updates and resources. We regularly post tips on fundraising and programming, news about the awesome work of your fellow chapters and much more. As a chapter member, you have exclusive access. Visit the page today!

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Join Us: Stress Less Twitter Chat on April 15 Wed, 08 Apr 2015 08:46:30 +0000 14592653118_dde584e697_oCalling all #StigmaFighters: On Wednesday, April 15 — during Stress Less Week — Active Minds will be partnering with our friends at Stamp Out Stigma to host a Twitter chat on stress management in college. We want to hear from you!

Here are the details:

Who: Active Minds and Stamp Out Stigma
What: A Twitter chat on stress management
When: Wednesday, April 15 at 1 p.m.

To join the conversation, include the hashtag #SOSChat in all your responses.

Here are some of the questions we’ll be exploring: Why is stress management in college so important? What tips/tricks can help students de-stress? What are good vs. bad mechanisms for dealing with stress?

A big goal of Stress Less Week is encouraging students to take care of themselves during finals season (and every other day for that matter!). We hope this Twitter chat will be a venue for our students to share coping tactics and help each other unwind.


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