Facebook Hopes to Save Lives with New Suicide Prevention Tool

Illustration for article titled Facebook Hopes to Save Lives with New Suicide Prevention Tool

Facebook is getting more serious about suicide prevention. Last month the company announced new tools designed to help users who are considering suicide, as well as concerned friends and family.

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From the Christian Science Monitor:

Facebook teamed up with Forefront, Save.org, the University of Washington, and others, as well as consulting individuals who have dealt with self-injury or suicide, to overhaul its prevention tools.

Originally launched in 2011, Facebook's first attempt to address suicidal content required links or screenshots to be uploaded to its suicide prevention page. The updated process is a little easier and allows for users to flag a concerning post from within the post itself. From there, the user can choose to message the potentially troubled individual, contact another Facebook friend for support, or can be linked with an expert for guidance.

After a review by Facebook, if the user appears to be suicidal, the next time they log into their account, a series of screens will offer them assistance and ways to receive help, including links to sites such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Now Matters Now.

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For right now the new tools are limited to users in the United States, but according to NBC News the services will be available to other countries in the coming months.

It's unclear whether or not these new developments will have an impact, but here's to hoping.

Photo via Shutterstock

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DISCUSSION

ohgodnotagain
oh god not again

As much as a I love to snark about FB, I can't really fault this step. Many teen suicides written about in the news include excerpts from their social media accounts, and they often leave worrying posts before committing the act. As a teen, if you saw your friend post something hinting at suicidal thoughts, it's not so easy to know what to do about it. These measures by FB may indeed help.