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When it comes to early-warning signs of suicide, social media may be an undervalued resource.

Mike and Shelly Roberts, whose 17-year-old son Nolan took his own life in September, shared their story at Highland Middle School on Oct. 29. Nolan’s friends would later tell them that he had left disturbing posts on social media in the days preceding his death.

We commend the Robertses for sharing their story, which couldn’t have been easy to do.

Their story contains a powerful lesson that in order to read the warning signs, we must be looking in the right place.

Social media, for all its ups and downs, is a part of our lives and is a major part of how young people communicate.

It might be time to break through all the polarizing arguments that clog up our news feeds, to look past all the bickering and complaining and use social networking for what it was really meant to facilitate — human connection.

We ought to look past the negativity and recognize that there is an actual person behind every post.

Though it may be tempting to scroll past unhappy messages, it may be worthwhile to stop and check in on a friend who is showing signs of depression.

You may be the one to respond to a friend’s last cry for help.

Social media is frequently criticized for severing our connections to the real world and to the people who are right next to us. However, if we know the language, we might find that people using social media are communicating loud and clear and that we would be wise to listen.

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