Twitter introduces self-harm prevention feature in Taiwan

10/08/2021 10:28 PM
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The message shown in the new feature for Twitter users in Taiwan.
The message shown in the new feature for Twitter users in Taiwan.

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Social media site Twitter on Friday introduced in Taiwan a mental health feature that seeks to prevent self-harm or suicide, with the help of the Taiwan Lifeline International, the tech company said in a statement.

According to Twitter, it first introduced the feature that displays information about suicide prevention hotlines in 2019 when users type in self harm- or suicide-related keywords when searching through its website.

For users in Taiwan, they will see a message saying "Help is available" and information about 1995 -- the Taiwan Lifeline International's 24-hour hotline. They can also click on a link to the organization's website, which lists the contact information of its local branches around Taiwan.

The feature is now available in more than 30 countries or regions in the world, Twitter said.

Citing statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare that show suicide was the No. 2 cause of death among people aged between 15 and 44 in Taiwan in 2020, Twitter said it is a responsibility to provide correct information and resources about seeking help at any occasion and in any media popular among young people, either online or in real life.

The social media site also shared its observation that Taiwanese people seem more willing to talk about mental health issues, revealing that discussions on the topic on Twitter in Taiwan rose by 20 percent in 2020, an increase also recorded in other parts of Asia.

People experience anxiety and depression mainly because of their lost of control in life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the drastic changes in the society, said Taiwan Lifeline International President Huang Chun-sen (黃俊森) in the statement.

He called for everyone to pay more attention to people vulnerable to mental health issues.

In Taiwan, people can also call the 1925 service set up by the health ministry or 1980 by the Teacher Chang Foundation if they are in need of counseling or assistance.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Kay Liu)

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