YouTube as Suicide Prevention

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Prof. Paul Yip (on the left) in the Workshop & Symposium "Working Together to Prevent Suicide" (Photo: Fida Aifiya)

UNAIR NEWS – Former Vice President of International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), Prof. Paul Yip was present as a speaker at Surabaya Suicide Update 2019 Workshop & Symposium: “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” It took place at Faculty of Medicine, UNAIR, September 6-7, 2019.

In the forum, Prof. Paul Yip said that in his home country, Hong Kong, he educated several YouTubers as key opinion leaders (KOL) on suicide prevention. The project began with the rise of suicide cases among students in Hong Kong.

The majority of students in Hong Kong experience two common problems. First, depression from academic demands. Second, limited support. These two things lead to depression which leads to suicide.

The phenomenon was exacerbated by mistreatment from the media, which highlights the news of suicide as headlines of the newspaper. It is not following the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The WHO regulates how suicide is reported because suicide news can also encourage others with suicidal thoughts to commit suicide.

The number of false reports about suicide is directly proportional to the suicide rate itself. Correct publication on suicide news is needed to prevent more victims. For this reason, an educated and relevant KOL is needed for the student population.

Youngsters tend to be withdrawn due to problems, so they cannot get proper help from family or medical assistance or professionals. They prefer to express their problems online. Thus, Prof. Yip sees the prospects Youtube as a medium for suicide prevention.

Why choose Youtubers as KOL? Because according to Prof. Yip, it is far more effective than holding dissemination event about suicide prevention. “Young people are not interested in listening to the parents, and they prefer to watch YouTube,” he said.

YouTubers who have been following five hours of education on suicide prevention then produce content about correct knowledge, attitudes, and behavior that about suicide. These KOL Youtubers also opened positive discussions about suicide issues in the comments space.

Prof. Yip also said that the suicide problem is like iceberg. The act of suicide is only the tip on the surface of the sea. Below the surface shows problematic systems. Therefore, suicide is a complex social problem, not just a medical problem. (*)

Author: Fida Aifiya

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh

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