Facebook gets serious about Suicide Prevention
You don't need to walk on by...
Facebook gets a hard time for constantly encouraging people to share their private thoughts, emotions and experiences in a very public way. We've all seen posts that have made us think "woah, that's pretty heavy for Facebook" and then done nothing about it. Of course, the majority of those posts are usually from people just looking for attention and/or 'likes' - but others truly are more worrisome, and a legitimate cry for help from someone in crisis. These people, your friends, shouldn't never be ignored.
Facebook Suicide Prevention Tools
In the US, Facebook worked with Forefront, Lifeline and Save.org to create a set of tools and resources to help identify and reach out to users that may be at risk of suicide and self-harm. If you see something posted that you're really concerned about, you can contact the user directly or flag the post to the Facebook, who have a team of people available 24/7 that will assess the post and offer help and assistance to the poster. This week, in a very welcome development, Facebook announced that it was rolling these tools out to their global audience - in all languages that the platform is available in.
Reporting your concerns
Whilst these tools are extremely important resource, it is critical that if you do see any post on social media that makes you think that someone is about to hurt themselves, be it on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or any other platfrom, you must always immediately report it to your local emergency responders - Police, Ambulance etc. You will never get in trouble for trying to help someone.
If you see a series of posts that make you think that someone is considering harming themselves, you should use the help resources on the site to report your concern, and if you're under 16, tell an adult straight away.
For help and information on Suicide and Self-harm Prevention, please visit these support sites.