Facebook Initiative Aims To Help Prevent Suicide

By David Cohen Comment

Facebook is doing its part to help prevent suicide, enabling users who see possible suicidal thoughts on their friends’ pages to report it to the social network by clicking on a link, after which the social network will email the friends and encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or engage in live chats with crisis counselors.

The announcement from Facebook follows similar initiatives earlier this year aimed at wiping out bullying, offensive content, and fake profiles.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline associate project director Lidia Bernik told the Associated Press:

The science shows that people experience reductions in suicidal thinking when there is quick intervention. We’ve heard from many people who say they want to talk to someone but don’t want to call. Instant message is perfect for that.

A Facebook spokesperson said:

One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible. The only people who will have a really good idea of what’s going on are your friends, so we’re encouraging them to speak up and giving them an easy and quick way to get help.

Readers: Do you think chat sessions with crisis counselors on Facebook can be an effective means of preventing suicide?