Responding to Concerning Posts on Social Media

About This Program


Suicide prevention remains challenging among youth, as many do not disclose suicidal ideation to others before attempting suicide. However, emerging research suggests that nearly one-third of AI/AN youth see concerning messages on social media on a daily or weekly basis. This webinar training will prepare adults who work with Native youth to identify peers who post or view concerning posts on social media, and connect them to appropriate services.

  • Age Group Designed For:

    Young Adults
  • LGBT inclusive:

  • Trauma Informed:

  • Program Setting:

  • Curricula Type:

    Training for Adults
  • Duration:

    1, 1-hour webinar
  • Cost To Purchase:

  • Teacher Training or Certification Required:

  • Student to Teacher Ratio:

  • Evidence of Effectiveness:

    Promising Practice
  • Endorsements:


Program Contact Information


Training Materials Links:

Teacher Training or Certification Requirements:

This 1-hour webinar training is designed for adults who work with Native youth. It includes:

  • A 30-minute video
  • An overview of the Viewer Care Plan
  • Tips and resources for supporting someone who posts or views concerning messages

The “lesson plans” tab has handouts that accompany the training, and the “supporting materials” tab has two activity guides (one for adults and one for youth), that you can use to increase community awareness about concerning social posts, and what to do if you see them.

*Please note the “Resources tab” is only available when viewing the webinar training on your desktop. This tab is not available when viewing the training on a mobile device. When viewing the training on a mobile platform for the first time you will be prompted to download the Articulate Mobile Player app on both iOS or Android devices. You can follow prompts, or go to app store to install for free.

Cultural Relevance


Concerning posts include those that express depression or intent to hurt oneself or others, posted on social media. These disclosures may provide new opportunities to identify youth at-risk and connect them to appropriate resources and support.

In 2015, a team from Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board conducted focus groups with 32 AI/AN youth (14-22 years old) to better understand their perspectives on concerning social media posts. Adults who work with Native youth were also surveyed on their experience with and comfort responding to such posts.

Two major themes emerged from the youth focus groups: First, AI/AN youth felt a sense of personal responsibility to help peers, but would grow progressively frustrated and “burned out” if their efforts to help did not change the observed behavior; many described “giving up on the situation.” Second, youth requested support from trusted adults, but only 5% of adults surveyed felt adequately prepared to intervene, revealing the need for additional training.



To evaluate the impact of the video intervention, our team conducted a pilot study with two study arms: Arm 1 watched the 30-minute training video and reviewed accompanying training handouts. Arm 2 watched the 30-minute training video, reviewed accompanying training handouts, and participated in an interactive role-play scenario with a coach, that took place via text message.

Objective: In 2017, AI/AN adults who work with Native youth were recruited to test the training and provide feedback on its usability, appeal, and impact.

Methods: A sample of 70 adults were recruited to participate in the pilot, which included two study arms. Altogether, 35 participants finished the training over a 3-month period and completed pre- and post-surveys; 22 participants completed the 6-month follow-up survey. Participants provided qualitative and quantitative feedback on the training’s relevance, appeal, and utility. Qualitative analysis of the role-play transcripts were used to assess the quality and completion of the coached role-plays, in relation to a recommended Viewer Care Plan.

Results: Pre-post analyses of differences in means found significant improvement across several efficacy measures, including confidence starting a conversation about social media (p=0.003), confidence contacting the person who posted something concerning (p=0.0001), and confidence recommending support services to youth who witness (p=0.0014) or youth who post concerning messages (p=0.0001). Similarly, pre- to 6-month analyses found significant positive improvement across multiple measures, including confidence contacting the youth who posted (p=0.0004), confidence starting a conversation about social media with youth (p=0.0029), and an increase in the number of experiences recommending resources for youth who witnessed concerning social media posts (p=0.0196).

Evaluation of the interactive coached role-play scripts found that, on the whole, participants followed some of the Viewer Care Plan (VCP) guidelines more than others. For example, 89% (N=16) of participants completed the “Clarify Your Role” step, while only 44% (N=8) shared VCP tools and resources. Three main response styles emerged: Collaborative (61%), Directive (44%), and Non-Inclusive (22%), with 22% of health educators using more than one approach. Approximately half (N=9) of participants provided additional resources or advice beyond those included in the VCP.

Conclusions: Findings from the pilot study indicate that the Responding to Concerning Posts on Social Media training is a promising tool to better prepare adults to intervene and complete the three steps outlined in the Viewer Care Plan: (1) Start the Conversation; (2) Listen, Gather information, and Assess Viewer Experience; and (3) Plan and Act. To our knowledge, this is the first gatekeeper training for adults that provides guidance for responding to concerning posts on social media. Given the frequency of posts by teens and young adults that express suicidality and self-harm, this training may serve as a helpful blueprint for designing similar trainings for other high-risk populations.


Responding to Concerning Posts on Social Media

Youth Mentor

This training is excellent, especially for those adults working with youth in contexts beyond social services. Being in Indian County involves many social, economic, educational and recreational contexts. It is good that it offers training for people to effectively and proactively support our Native youth.