New Facebook Feature Will Literally Save Lives


keyboardFinally, something good and non-time wasting to come out of Facebook. Tuesday, the social networking site teamed up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to put users who post anything that could be deemed as a suicidal thought in immediate touch with a crisis counselor via their instant messaging system.

The side doesn't catch and report suicidal postings on its own, but instead allows friends of the user to address the behavior by clicking the report option, which is next to any piece of content on the site, and choosing "suicidal content" under the "harmful behavior" tab.

Great. Perfect. Really good idea, Zuckerberg. After all, such postings are ultimately a cry for help. Having a crisis center contact them may be just the thing these people need.

People who post suicidal thoughts or harmful behavior anywhere on the Internet probably are too scared, ashamed, whatever to get in touch with someone who can actually help -- which is why they're making these declarations in a public forum. They want help, but they can't actually bring themselves to get it. I.E., they're hoping someone will bring it to them.

Having a crisis center on hand not only can help those in dark places get better -- it can actually prevent suicides and other crimes. Take Bart Heller, the man who killed his ex-girlfriend and her friend, before killing himself recently. Before everything went down, Heller posted an ominous message on Facebook. If the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline partnership had been implemented at that point, who knows? The crimes may have been prevented.

No need to tell you that the Internet is a massive, unregulated, post-apocalyptic wasteland that's often used irresponsibly. Having something like this on one of the biggest websites out there -- well, it just makes things feel a little safer.

Do you think this is a good idea?


Image via jeroen_bennink/Flickr



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ashjo85 ashjo85

I guess I'm wondering that if you saw a post like this, why you'd need to click report, instead of just doing the IMing yourself and asking your friend if they're ok?

LissD LissD

It is comforting that there is now such an option...for those that are truly in need. But I can picture this feature being abused by anyone and everyone...given all of the sad type status updates there are in one day. I have the same few "friends" who continuosly post about how much they hate there life or how they can't live with out such n such person. After so many of these posts how are we sure they aren't just a whiney type??

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I can see this being abused horribly not to mention unintentionally misused. Every teen that posts something angsty will have friend's humping the button. If someone posts something like "That's it! I'm done!" how are we to know if they mean with life or if they're just done cleaning their closet?

mom2m... mom2monsterboys

Bad idea. If your that worried about a friend, call the proper authorities. Something as simple as "fml" can (and will most likely) be tagged.

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