Facebook launches new suicide prevention features

27 Feb 2015

Facebook is rolling out a number of new features in the US that will provide support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

The updates will allow users to report any content they see to Facebook that would lead them to believe a friend is at risk of harming themselves.

The social network will then review the reports, prioritise those deemed the most serious, and send help and resources to those in distress, including connected the person with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, giving them the option of reaching out to a friend, and providing advice on how they can work through these feelings.

Additional options for those concerned about friends will also be provided, such as the ability to connect with trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.

The updates have been developed with input from a number of mental health organisations, including Forefront, Now Matters Now, Save.org and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that they contact their local emergency services immediately,” said Rob Boyle, Facebook product manager, and Nicole Staubli, Facebook Community Operations Safety Specialist, in a post via the site’s Facebook Safety page.

These updates will be rolled out in the US over the next couple of months, but Facebook says its also working to improve tools for those outside the US.


Depression image via Shutterstock

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic