Facebook Adds New Suicide Prevention ToolsOn Wednesday Facebook implemented a new feature to aid in suicide prevention on the social network.
Developed in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention (which is a nonprofit group working out of the University of Washington’s School of Social Work), and other groups, this new feature is giving users more options in reporting, and supporting, their friends who are posting statuses and other updates that cause concern.
The social network has displayed an awareness of its important role in suicide prevention in the past. Several years ago Facebook first added tools to aid in suicide prevention. This included the ability to report a friends’ concerning posts, along with links and tips on how to help a friend in need.
The new feature goes a bit further. If someone sees a post by a friend that they find concerning or indicative of suicide ideation, they can click on a dropdown menu and choose to “report” the post. From there, Facebook provides different options, including the ability for the concerned friend to directly message the potentially suicidal friend, connect that friend with a suicide prevention helpline, or involve a third friend (perhaps someone who they know to be close with the suicidal individual).
Additionally, Facebook will review the reported post. If after review the person is indeed deemed to be in danger of harming themselves, Facebook will present to them more messages the next time they sign on. Those messages will present various options, like reach out to a friend, talk to a helpline, read self-care tips, seek professional help, in an effort to connect them with a source of support with which they’ll be comfortable.
For more information about these new features, check out some of the material below.