The Samaritans radar – help or hindrance?

The Samaritans have launched a Twitter app today in order to help flag those potentially in need of support. I appreciate that their heart is in the right place but have they really thought this through?

I’ve been active on Twitter for a long time. My original account was closed on police advice because I had a cyber stalker and started again. Like many others I tweet inanely about my daily life, have a jokey hashtag (#notacodeforspies), tweet quasi scary bedtime tweets and generally fool around with, for the most part, a gorgeous bunch of people. It’s fun and I love it.

When I put my serious head on I tweet about mental health, how it has affected me in the past, how I cope with it now and promote my website which is largely about mental health. I’m going to be appearing on people’s radar a lot I think and, to be honest, I don’t want offers of help from people unless I’m pretty close to them in real life. I have a small but incredibly strong network of people who love and support me. I have registered Lasting Power of Attorney so I can hand over the reins when I get too ill to cope. I neither want nor need offers of help from people who don’t know the colour of my eyes.

What is more worrying, to the point of being terrifying for some people, is that trolls and the people who deliberately target the disabled and unwell are going to download this app just to follow people that they can bully, condemn and, in extreme cases, incite to suicide.

I’m asking you not to download this app. Read your timeline, make subtle but worthwhile gestures to people but please be sensitive. If a mind is unsettled then it takes little to push us closer to the edge that we need to be.

Pull this app before it gets misused please Samaritans and before you “help” us again, think twice about what you’re actually lining us up for. The tongues of the discriminatory are potentially the bullets of a firing squad.

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