Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2023). 44(3), 247–254. SIEC No: 20231358

Background: There is a need to develop new ways to reach and engage people at risk for suicidal behavior. Suicide prevention outreach on social media (SPOSM) represents a promising strategy, and trained volunteers could potentially provide the needed human resources. Aims: We aimed to investigate users’ perception of SPOSM delivered by volunteers of the Israeli Sahar organization and its potential to promote help-seeking behavior. Methods: Outreach messages written by Sahar volunteers between July 2015 and June 2020 in response to suicidal posts on a social media site were screened. User responses were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: One hundred sixteen user responses were analyzed. Positive impact themes were identified in 69.8% of responses, while 16.4% of responses mentioned barriers to care and 10.3% were negative. Limitations: As the study is based on real-life data, the data are limited to users who chose to respond to outreach. Conclusion: The findings suggest that volunteer-based SPOSM is viewed positively by many users and may foster help-seeking behavior. The findings also outline challenges such as emotional barriers to care and privacy concerns.