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How to Handle Suicidal Users Without Freaking Out

#sxsw #crisisplan

RSVP Required - If your website has user-generated content or social media, you've likely gotten comments from people in crisis. Not only is this scary, but it can drain resources, raise legal issues, and create a PR nightmare. Prepare for the inevitable by creating a crisis plan. Together, Ashley Womble & Chris Gandin Le have advised safety teams at all major social networks, from MySpace to Pinterest on how to respond to users in emotional and suicidal crisis.
This workshop will provide an overview of online safety and mental health issues- including depression, suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, and bullying - to teach you how to handle a crisis without breaking a sweat. We’ll outline best practices currently used by Google, Facebook and other major players and present case studies of crisis plans for small tech companies without their own safety teams.
You'll leave with:
• A customized crisis plan
• An understanding of your legal obligations
• Contacts for when you need to take action

Helpful if attendees are in customer service, user operations, or consumer safety teams at their companies. Anyone is welcome though, especially people with startups.

What to Bring:

To RSVP your seat for this workshop, please click on "Sign in to RSVP" in the upper right location of this page. You'll need to sign in using your SXsocial login information.


Ashley Womble Communications Director National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Ms. Womble has more than eight years of experience working in the publishing industry and has developed an expertise in digital communications and social media. As the Online Communications Manager at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Ms. Womble works to develop innovative online marketing approaches and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in social media to reach more persons in emotional distress and/or at risk of suicide.

Her work for the Lifeline has been written about on and the She speaks regularly to the media about suicide prevention and recently launched a blog, You Matter, that tackles issues young adults face. She also coordinates the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Consumer/Survivor Subcommittee, a group of activists and individuals who have attempted suicide or lost a family member to suicide. Womble is a frequent presenter on mental health at conferences around the country, and has become an expert on using social media to save lives. She is a member of the Public Communications Task Force for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Prior to joining the Lifeline, Ms. Womble worked as an editor for joined Hearst Digital Media and played a key role of the development of and She created partnerships with media companies (from Google to Yahoo to Foursquare) and spoke about the Hearst Digital Media’s online and social media efforts. In these roles, Ms. Womble played a significant role in rebranding traditional print media into new media.

Christopher Gandin Le CEO Emotion Technology

Since graduating from Teachers College of Columbia University, Christopher Gandin Le has dedicated himself to harnessing the power of technology to save lives and educate people.

Chris brings an activist’s sensibility to public health, specifically suicide prevention. During his tenure at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, he established protocol for online suicide prevention and partnerships with all of the major social networking websites. With a donation from producer James L. Brooks, Chris co-created the Lifeline Gallery, a powerful virtual space where suicide survivors, attempt survivors, and suicide prevention supporters share their stories.

Chris recently wrote a white paper titled "Using New Media for Suicide Prevention" for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the first inquiry by the national government into online activity around suicide and suicide prevention.

Naomi Wolf wrote the New York Times bestselling book “The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” for, and dedicated the book to, Chris, whom she calls “a born activist, a natural grassroots leader and teacher.”

Christopher Gandin Le is working to make sure every single new media user has access to the life-saving tools they need.

Earnest Mazique Technical Support Analyst Emotion Technology

Jennifer Battle Crisis Center Director Mhmr Harris County