Suicide on facebook

Amir Kumar Ahuja, Drexel University College of Medicine
Krystine Biesaga, Drexel University College of Medicine
Donna M. Sudak, Department of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
John Draper, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Ashley Womble, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Current suicide assessment relies primarily on the patient's oral history. This article describes the case of a patient who was hospitalized after making an impulsive suicide attempt. Subsequently, social media was used to identify the events leading up to the attempt and to reconstruct a timeline. This evidence helped the patient gain more insight into the severity of his condition and agree to participate in treatment. Facebook and other social media may prove to be helpful adjuncts to suicide prevention efforts both in treatment and in screening for high-risk individuals who may not voluntarily come to clinical attention.