Sunday (Sept. 10) is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Facebook is doing its part by running News Feed ads to inform users about supportive groups and suicide-prevention tools, as well as adding a new online well-being section to its Safety Center.
The online well-being section provides access to tools aimed at helping them resolve online conflicts, help friends who have expressed suicidal thoughts and take advantage of resources if they are the ones going through difficult times.
Facebook head of global safety Antigone Davis wrote in a Newsroom post that the social network has provided suicide-prevention tools crafted in collaboration with mental health organizations for more than 10 years, adding that Facebook relies on a combination of technology, such as recognizing patterns in users’ comments, and observant, compassionate friends and family.
Davis said Facebook has teams working worldwide, 24/7, to monitor reports of potentially suicidal behavior, adding, “For those who reach out to us, we provide suggested text to make it easier for people to start a conversation with their friend in need and also provide information and resources for how to best handle the situation. We provide the friend who has expressed suicidal thoughts information about local help lines, along with other tips and resources.”
The social network also teams up with suicide prevention partners to “collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide,” and content that violates Facebook’s community standards—which prohibit promotion of self-injury or suicide—is removed.