A suicide cluster is typically defined as a group of suicides that occur closer together in time and space than would normally be expected. Despite common perceptions, suicide clusters are relatively rare, however youth suicides more commonly occur as part of a cluster than adult suicides. When clusters do occur they can have a significant negative impact on other young people and on the community as a whole, largely due to the risk of further suicides, complicated grief reactions and the potential for ongoing distress and trauma.
When used in a planned way, social media can play an important role in helping to prevent suicide clusters. For example, it can be used to deliver support and helpline information to large numbers of people quickly and it can also provide information on how to communicate about the suicide death(s) safely and in a way that can reduce the potential for distress and further risk amongst others.
The #chatsafe guidelines were developed by Orygen in 2018 and are designed to help young people communicate safely about suicide on social media. This new clusters resource is based on the original #chatsafe guidelines and has been developed to help communities who may have experienced the suicide of a young person provide information and support via social media in a safe and supportive way.