Facebook announced the addition of a new suicide prevention feature on Feb. 26, 2015. Users are able to click “Report Post” if they see a Facebook friend post something that indicates they might be thinking of harming themselves. There will be contact options prompted after the post is reported to either contact the friend or contact another friend for support, including a suicide helpline option.
The social media site is partnering with Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention to give its users more options when they see a friend post something that is concerning.
Facebook will review the reported post and then reach out to help.
“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in,” said Rob Boyle, Facebook Product Manager. “They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury and send help and resources to those in distress.”
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately one million people die each year from suicide.
What drives so many individuals to take their own lives?
Understand that suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable.
Blinded by feelings of hopelessness and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives.
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting.
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.
Major warning signs for suicide include: talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs.
These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol or drug dependence, has previously attempted suicide or has a family history of suicide.
If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives and showing that you care.
Facebook’s new feature will change suicide prevention measures dramatically. We don’t have to lose people this way any longer. Facebook gives us the power to help those who desperately need to feel like they are not alone.
Suicide is preventable.