A Calgary teen who sent out a suicidal tweet is receiving the help she needs, while a Washington, D.C. journalist is getting a lot of attention for helping her get there.
The 17-year-old girl said she was going to take her own life on Twitter Saturday night, a message that prompted tons of supportive messages from other users.
One of those messages was from Christopher Wiggins.
He saw the tweet because his profile alerts specific keywords, including those about suicide.
After his journalistic instincts kicked in and he found out the threat was real, he decided to act.
He reached out to the girl and the two started following each other, exchanging many messages and built a rapport.
Wiggins also reached out to Calgary police.
“At that point, I got in touch with the constable that I was supposed to get in touch with, who had been monitoring things and gave him the phone number so that they could start pinning the phone and GPS locating it,” Wiggins said.
Closer details of the case are confidential, but it appears the teen is doing better and Wiggins, who has suffered from depression himself, said he’s just fortunate he was able to help.
“It just happened to be me who had the good fortune of having her follow me, I don’t know why she didn’t follow someone else and write them, but I feel great for her that she’s getting the treatment she needs,” he said.
Wiggins added although Twitter can often spread false or negative information quickly, thankfully in this case, it worked out well.
“Getting a bunch of people involved to locate someone or to help someone is a phenomenon that I think Twitter and social media have brought to the forefront,” Wiggins said.
A report from Calgary’s Centre of Suicide Prevention says if you see a similar threat online, try to make sure it’s not a hoax, keep communication going, offer support and encourage the person to get help.