Suicide is the cause of 13 percent of teenage deaths in the United States.
In this day and age, many teens are turning to social media to post about their mental health and thoughts about self-harm.
“You feel safer behind a computer screen, than if you’re face to face with somebody,” clinical psychologist Dr. Rachel Needle said.
Dr. Needle says many are posting about suicide and depression using secret code names and hidden hashtags within their posts.
It's a place where some believe their parents wouldn’t think to look, but Needle says parents need to pay more attention.
“For a lot of parents, they will go to panic," she said. "It’s important that you keep your calm, as hard as that can be sometimes because you want your child to feel like they can talk to you openly.”
On social media, teen are using code names for mental health disorders, like annie for anxiety and sue for suicidal.
Hashtags #secretsociety123 or #KMS, which means kill yourself.
Together, both hashtags has more than 2 million posts on Instagram.
Below is a list of more codes:
- Ana or Rex – Anorexia
- Mia or Bill – Bulimia
- Perry or Pat – Paranoia
- Cat or Sam – Self-harm
- Deb or Dan – Depression
- The site is monitoring these posts, and has started removing them.
CBS12 News asked Needle what you should do if you see one of these hashtags on your feed.
“It’s important that you’re careful with how you respond and you don’t do it publicly people can feed off of it,” she said. “Ask them direct questions. If they have ever thought about hurting themselves or death by suicide. It’s not going to put the idea in their head, it's actually you will get more information and get to intervene.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.