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Facebook Implement Suicide Prevention Tools

Face Team Up With Mental Health Organisations To Reach Out To Those In Need 

Facebook have begun rolling out a set of tools which is designed to aid in suicide prevention by reaching out to people who seem troubled.

Social media is a great way to connect with your friends. It’s also quite good for throwing statuses, tweets and filtered pictures at everyone too.

But for some social media users, it’s utilised as a tool to talk about their depression and in their darkest moments, a way to express their desires to commit suicide or to say goodbye. 

Now, thanks to some new tools, Facebook users will be able to report worrying posts where you fear the user might be having suicidal thoughts. The post will then be quickly reviewed by a third party who will then decide if they should reach out to the reported user.

Here’s what will pop up for the user if it’s decided that their content is cause for concern:


As you can see, you can choose to talk to someone. A professional or even just a friend. Users will also be able to choose to look through a selection of support guides and tips.

To create this set of tools, Facebook teamed up with a number of mental health organisations in order to make sure that the methods and language used would be appropriate in order to reach out to those most in need.  The organizations include and are not limited to: Forefront, Now Matters Now, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.

Take a look at how it all works here:

Naturally, this sounds like a fantastic new tool for Facebook. We’re really not quite good enough at accepting that mental health is just as much of an illness as a physical issue yet. But at least Facebook is taking steps in the right direction.

Unfortunately, I do worry about this feature being abused. Last year a similar feature was introduced to Twitter by the Samaritans. The system operated on an algorithm that picked out buzz words and it left a lot to be desired. It caused people struggling with issues to feel even more vulnerable. It also gave stalkers and bullies a chance to increase the level of abuse they were already cowardly dishing out. Nasty little blighters, hey?

However, since the Twitter CEO admitted that they were at fault for the levels of abuse on their site, Twitter has since tripled the size of their team which deals with abuse.

Furthermore, Facebook’s suicide prevention tool requires actual human interaction in order to reach out to someone. If they act fast, it should prove much more successful that Twitter’s last attempt. 

Tom Welby

Tom has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other interests include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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Facebook Implement Suicide Prevention Tools Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, March 04, 2015 Rating: 5
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