Facebook Reaches Out to Users Contemplating Suicide
Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life. That’s according to data from the WHO, which reports that about 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
The best way to help friends with suicidal thoughts is to show them that you care, and Facebook has created tools to make reaching out to people at risk easier. If you’re worried about someone who hints at suicide or self-harm online, you can report their posts. Facebook will send your friend resources and offer to connect them to a helpline, without letting them know who reported their post.
If you want to start a conversation but feel lost for words, the platform’s support team will also send you sample phrases and information on the best ways to deal with people who are feeling suicidal or practicing self-harm
These suicide prevention tools have recently been integrated into Facebook Live too. Once you report a friend’s live feed, resources for getting help will pop up on their screen, and you’ll receive information on how to assist them.
On top of these features, Facebook has worked with prevention organizations to identify hashtags, phrases, and groups that promote suicide or self-harm. The social media platform has long banned this kind of content, and its support team will reach out to users who search for these posts. Facebook has also revamped its Safety Center to make suicide-related information easier to find, and will advertise these resources on users’ newsfeeds for the whole month of September.
The task of helping a suicidal friend may seem daunting, not to mention stressful. But for people who are in despair, just knowing there are people who care and are willing to listen makes a world of difference.