World Mental Health Day 2021: Twitter renews commitment to make platform ‘safe space’

October 8, 2021 - 3:17 PM
Image by Natasha Spenser via Pixabay

As we mark World Mental Health Day on October 10, Twitter reinforced its commitment to “protect public conversations and make it easier for people to receive help and support on mental health issues.”

This year, the micro-blogging platform rolled out notification services and custom emojis to raise awareness online and allow users to “talk openly about their struggles with mental health.”

“We have partnered with local mental health authorities and nonprofits organizations across Southeast Asia to understand public conversations on mental health and promote advocacy and campaigns,” said Monrawee Ampolpittayanant, head of public policy, government and philanthropy of Twitter Southeast Asia

#ThereIsHelp notification service and Search Prompt for suicide and self-harm

Launched in October 2019, the #ThereIsHelp notification service provides valuable mental health resources to vulnerable people and encourages them to seek professional help when they need it.

To help connect people to mental health resources, Twitter also launched a search prompt for suicide and self-harm in more than 30 markets globally.

(Twitter Philippines/Released)

“We believe that preventing suicide and addressing mental health requires collaboration across all of society — public, private and non-profit. This is work we can only do effectively by collaborating with local government agencies and NGO (non-governmental organization) partners,” the statement read.

Local mental health organizations include Mental Health PH, one of the Twitter’s trust and safety council members on suicide prevention and mental health and the National Center for Mental Health Philippines (NCMHP).

Roy Dahildahil, Mental Health PH’s co-founder and executive director, said suicide and self-harm is still “a significant public health issue yet remained to be highly misunderstood and stigmatized.”

“One life lost to suicide is one life too many. [W]e believe we could change this by providing a regular space for people to talk about mental health. We can normalize the discussion and save someone’s life,” Dahildahil said in a statement.

“We are excited to join other mental health organizations in Asia on September 10 to exchange ideas on how we can reduce suicide and self-harm not only in the Philippines but also globally,” he added.

Dahildahil said #UsapTayo (Let’s Talk), a Twitter conversation held every 10th, 20th, and 30th of the month has helped educate and destigmatize mental health online.

Meanwhile, NCMHP emphasized that people have been relying on digital platforms to get help.

“Through Twitter Spaces, we wanted to join other organizations in Asia to reach more people and create a suicide-safer community,” it said.

Other mental health authorities in Southeast Asia include Into the Light Indonesia, Samaritans of Thailand, Department of Mental Health Thailand, BefriendersKL and Samaritans of Singapore.

#WorldMentalHealthDay emoji

Mental Health Foundation said the green ribbon emoji is recognized as the international symbol for mental health awareness that is available.

Throughout October, a green ribbon emoji will automatically appear every time a user tweets the following hashtags about Mental Health, namely: #UsapTayo, #TuloyAngKwento, #WorldMentalHealthDay, #WMHD2021, #MentalHealth, #MentalHealthMatters, #MentalHealthForAll #MentalHealthAwareness, #StepUp2021, #OnMyMind and #MentalHealthinanUnequalWorld.

World Mental Health Day, which aims “to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health,” is celebrated every October 10.

“COVID-19 has encouraged acknowledgment that mental health challenges are not a reflection of character but of circumstance – often beyond our control. This World Mental Health Day remember that you are not alone and #ThereIsHelp out there,” Twitter said.  —Ma. Alena O. Castillo