Facebook have taken a step towards empowering people who are worried about their friends by launching enhanced suicide prevention tools across the Social Network. Developed in association with the Samaritans, the new feature allows users to flag posts that concern them…
Facebook’s suicide prevention tool, which is similar to versions previously released in the US and Australia, could help encourage people in the UK who are struggling to cope with issues of mental health to seek support from individuals and support services.
With the new tool users are able to flag individual posts that they consider a concern to the Social Network. This content will then be independently reviewed by the network, and a message offering help and support options will be sent to person concerned. Facebook have worked with emotional support charity the Samaritans to craft an encouraging and purposeful message for the individuals who are struggling to cope, offering easy access to different support options.
Alongside being able to connect with a volunteer at the Samaritans, they have also created an accessible message providing tips on working through difficult issues and feelings with a friend or someone close. Anonymity is a major aspect in the service that the Samaritans provide and Facebook have developed their feature to allow users to contact them without any details being passed on.
In light of the feature, CEO of the Samaritans Ruth Sutherland said this: “If people can start to talk about the unbearable pain that they’re facing, we can interrupt that journey towards suicide. Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable. This tool plays a really vital role in achieving that.” Spotting the signs of suicidal thoughts can sometimes be difficult, and people often turn to Social Media to express their emotions. This feature empowers people to notice and act on those emotional insights.