About the Interactive Bystander

It is unfortunate that chances are you know someone who has committed suicide, or that you have been affected by the suicide of a peer even if they weren’t close to you. The Interactive Bystander was created to help teens identify signs of depression in their peers. Our hope is that this will help us to speak up or reach out to an adult if we think someone might be a danger to themselves. Depression does not automatically mean that someone is suicidal, and it is not always obvious that someone is suffering from depression or thinking about committing suicide. Through the video scenarios on our site, we hope that you will identify the signs and choose (honestly!) how you would react to each sign.

These videos only scratch the surface of representing what depression looks like. It can be difficult to identify when a friend needs help, and it can be even harder not to feel like you are crossing a boundary by telling an adult that you are scared for them. Being an Interactive Bystander can be taxing on your mental health, so please visit our self-care page for a quick meditation session and tips for taking care of your mental health.

You will not find any depictions of suicide in our videos. However, there are self-harm scars, and some of the scenarios can get pretty emotional. If you or someone you know is triggered by any of the content on our site, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and reach out to an adult you trust.

The Interactive Bystander was founded by Kristen Rivera, a graduate of Elon University’s Interactive Media program, as a part of her capstone project. Kristen conducted research on how interactive media can be used to address mental health stigma in the United States. In the public education system, teachers are sometimes offered mental health training, but when they have to address the needs of hundreds of students a day, signs can go unnoticed. Through the Interactive Bystander, Kristen hopes to empower middle and high school students to speak up for their peers if they feel something is wrong.

Become an Interactive Bystander

To learn about the Interactive Bystander, visit our about page. To see how signs of depression may appear in the behavior of your peers, check out our interactive videos. If you would like more information about resources, including what to say if you're reaching out to an adult about a peer you're worried about, please visit our resources page.

Being an Interactive Bystander can be taxing on your mental health, so please visit our self-care page for a quick meditation session and tips for taking care of your mental health.