New Facebook Suicide Prevention Feature Offers Help After Worrisome Status Updates

Facebook suicide preventionHas a friend ever shared something on Facebook that made you concerned about her well-being? If so, you're not alone. If you struggled with what to do after reading the alarming status update, you'll be relieved to know Facebook is now offering assistance at the touch of a button. 


The social media giant has teamed up with Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, to offer help, available via both desktop and mobile sites, to those worried about a friend's mental health. 

By clicking an arrow at the top of the post, you can report it. From there, you'll be given options that allow you to either contact your friend directly, get in touch with another friend for support, or be put in touch with a suicide helpline. 

Facebook suicide prevention

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This new feature could literally be a life-saver. Let's face it: When you read something, you can interpret it very differently from the way you might if the same sentence were said aloud. Very often it can be hard to tell if a friend is just being dramatic or is truly in danger. 

Rather than staring at the screen wondering what to do next, it's great to know that help is readily available. While it would be surprising to be on the receiving end of a message from Facebook saying that a friend alerted the site that a recent post led them to believe you might need help, if you were in a bad place, this could be the lifeline that rescues you.

Let's just hope that users -- especially young ones -- take this new feature seriously and don't decide to report posts as a prank. Also, you have to wonder if just knowing that this exists will make people a bit more guarded about what they post -- which could be a good or a bad thing. Venting, and receiving some sympathetic replies, can be very therapeutic -- as long as that's all it is. But someone really wishing to issue a cry for help may think twice.

facebook suicide prevention


Currently, this new feature is available to 50 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. It will become available to the other half over the next few months, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

For those in need of immediate assistance, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Will you use this new feature if you believe a friend is in trouble?


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