Social Media Cry for Help

  • Published
  • By Shannon Hall
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

When someone has made the decision to try and take their own life, they start living in a way that may send subtle messages and clues that something is off. During this time of physical distancing and the future being unknown, our community needs to be more diligent in recognizing these signs.

Social media use has grown dramatically in the course of the first part of this century, and especially within the last couple of months due to the pandemic. Although it can sometimes be hard to tell how a person is truly feeling through electronic devices, there are some noticeable signs to be aware of.

“Some obvious signs to look for include a change in how the person is engaging with others, how often they are posting or commenting on other pages and if they are going through a major life stressor,” said Jennifer Houghton, Wellness and Resiliency program manager. “These stressors can be a death in the family, divorce, loss of job or trouble with finances.”

Life changes such as retirement, medical evaluation boards, and permanent change of duty stations are just a few military members can face. Although many military members, and civilians, like to keep their life somewhat personal and not share everything on social media, it has proven harder to do during times of stress.

Although social media platforms are seen all over and very public, they still provide some sense of security for those behind the screen and keyboard. This can help individuals be a little more vulnerable and open to seeking help, even if the hints are subtle.

“Some people feel as though they won’t be judged if they have a cry for help on social media versus asking for help in “real” life,” said Armando Franco, Wellness and Resiliency team lead. “But if this is an individual I know well, I am able to keep up with their tones and posts and recognize when something is off.”

The best ways to reach out to someone who seems like they are crying for help on social media is to contact them, someone who lives with them or local authorities to do a wellness check. They may be upset and feel a little invaded, but they will be alive and that’s what matters most.

“Suicide is preventable and is a community problem because we tend to dismiss or avoid it due to personal stigmas,” Armando said. “We need to take the steps to isolate the contagion and vow to take a stand against suicide. Check on one another, do whatever it takes and always be there for each other.”

Throughout the month of September, the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is hosting a 2.2 mile walk or run campaign to bring awareness to suicide. If you would like to participate, please email videos, photos and short messages to These submissions will be posted on AFW2’s social media platforms throughout September for Suicide Awareness Month.

AFW2 is continuously hosting virtual socials live on Facebook to help everyone cope during this time. Visit the program’s Facebook page to hear stories of resiliency, engage in wellness activities and live sporting competitions hosted by Air Force Wounded Warriors. For additional information, visit to refer an Airman to the program, read about the program’s mission and learn about additional services offered to caregivers and families.