Last week I had a post published on Kiki and Tea that coincided with R U OK Day. Today has been my first chance to log in and check the comments on that post and I was shocked. The commenter left a link to a website that had absolutely failed in it’s duty of care to it’s readers.
On the 9th of September Mamamia posted an article about Loneliness which appeared to resonate with a few of their readers. One reader however used the post to comment what appeared to be a suicide note. Fellow readers reached out and asked him to reconsider and one posted the link to several help lines that would be of assistance. At the time I read the article, there appeared to be no comment from any of the staff at Mamamia.
In the days after this man had reached out to the community of Mamamia, his daughter also reached out to let the commenters know that her dad had in fact attempted to take his own life. His daughter was the person to find him and thankfully was able to get him medical treatment. He is currently recovering in a mental health facility.
I know that when I post things about Mental Illness, Self Harm and Suicide that I am opening up my blog to people who themselves may be in a vulnerable position. My writing may be the push that makes them open up about how they have been feeling. While some people may be of the thinking that it’s not *on me* if a person expresses suicidal thoughts, I believe that I have a duty of care to provide a safe place of support.
The beauty of the internet (or not depending on where you are coming from) is that no one is ever anonymous. Each comment left on my blog (and many others) has an IP address, even if you login in as a guest. I am not saying this to try and scare anyone but these IP addresses can be used in the event of someone expressing a desire to commit suicide, hurt themselves in anyway or hurt another person.
I believe that it was Mamamia’s duty of care to pass these details onto the relevant authorities. Would I have passed the details on? You bet your arse I would have. I am all for protection of privacy but when a person’s life is in danger then all bets are off. What if it had been a hoax? I can’t control other people’s behaviour, but I would feel confident in the knowledge that I had done the right thing.
Do you believe that bloggers and websites have a duty of care when someone expresses a desire to harm themselves or others? What would you have done in the same situation?
Linking up with the hawt Sarah at Slapdash Mama for The Lounge.