Menu
Facebook improves tool for suicide prevention

Facebook improves tool for suicide prevention

Better support and information will be provided to users who might need help

Facebook users whose posts have been reported by others will see this dialogue box upon logging in.

Facebook users whose posts have been reported by others will see this dialogue box upon logging in.

Facebook is adding new features to its site to provide better information and support to people at risk of suicide.

Facebook, the world's largest social network, has become a place for many of its 1.3 billion active users to share deeply personal thoughts. When users see posts from people who are directly threatening suicide, they should contact local emergency services immediately, Facebook says. Still, the company wants to improve how it responds to reports of suicide threats. It wants to provide better information to people in need and also to users who submit reports after seeing troubling posts.

Facebook users were already able to report what they considered to be content indicating suicidal thoughts, either from the top-right dropdown menu of posts, or by filling out this form. Facebook would then reach out to the person reported. Now, it's incorporating more information and communication tools into the process, and offering to connect the person who made the report with health professionals.

If a person is reported as being at risk of suicide, the next time they log in to Facebook, a new message box will appear, perhaps saying, "Hi Gerald, a friend thinks you might be going through something difficult and asked us to look at your recent post." From there, Facebook will provide a way to connect the person with a friend, or a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (The direct number there is 1-800-273-8255.) The dialogue box will also provide a link to tips and advice in text and digital video form.

The person suspected of being at risk of suicide must be reported by another user for this process to occur. Facebook does not have any tools to automatically detect people at risk of suicide.

The resources were created in conjunction with clinical and academic partners, Facebook says. In supplying them, the company worked with mental health organizations like Forefront, Now Matters Now and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and consulted with people who have intentionally hurt themselves.

Meanwhile, Facebook is now providing more resources to people who flag such posts. While previously the site may have only sent a thank you, now Facebook will offer to connect them with their friend as well as a worker at a suicide hotline, for support.

Facebook has a team of hundreds trained by mental health professionals who work around the world, 24/7, reviewing reports of troubling posts. The most serious reports, like those related to self-injury, are prioritized, Facebook says.

The updates will roll out to all Facebook users in the U.S. over the next couple months, on both the desktop and mobile. Improvements are in the works for people outside the U.S.

Facebook has added more tools around public health and safety issues as its user base has grown. Last month the company added Amber Alerts to its site and mobile app; last year it released a tool to let users tell their friends they're O.K. after an emergency.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetFacebooksearch enginessocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments