A social networking site may be a tool to help prevent suicide through monitoring what is tweeted. That's based on research that found suicidal tweets correlated with the actual suicide rates of each state. Litsa Pappas, from our sister station News 14 Carolina, has more.
UNITED STATES -- Whether it's getting news or just following friends, Twitter has become one of the most popular sources for information.
"I think it's a great resource to look at over your kids, especially when they get to that age when they're not talking to you anymore," said Sandra Tenney, a parent.
Tenney said Twitter can be a good way to find out if something is wrong with your kids. Psychologist Bilal Ghandour agreed and said if parents are concerned about their child's tweet, it's a good time to talk.
"Make the child or teen comfortable to talk about whatever it is they raised in that Tweet or Facebook post," Ghandour said.
It's no surprise to Ghandour that Twitter now reflects suicide rates since he said people feel more comfortable venting their feelings on Twitter.
"They go to a place that's a little anonymous and there's this wall, there's this distance, where you don't have the responsibility of saying something right in front of someone," said Dr. Ghandour.
He said Twitter can be a new source for parents to keep their kids safe. It's something Tenney wishes she had years ago.
"I've actually had people in my family, in my life, that have committed suicide. And maybe if something like had been around, you know, at that time, maybe they would have found help," Tenney said.
Now she hopes with this new outlet, folks will keep a closer eye on family and friends to prevent more suicides from happening.
Researchers analyzed about 1.7 million tweets in a study by Brigham Young University. They found Midwestern and Western states had a higher amount of suicide-related tweets than expected, as well as higher actual rates of suicide.