Cries for help come in many forms, and in our digital age, many of them take place online. Facebook, being one of the biggest social networks out there, is peppered with depressed, suicidal, and otherwise troubling statuses making one’s personal anguish known to a larger audience. The social network has previously had a tool that aimed to help those who might be suicidal, and now the network is updating it to be more robust. With the update, those who may be suicidal are temporarily locked out of their account.
The new suicide prevention tool on Facebook will allow friends of the troubled person to report their status, and will then present info about preventing suicide and a further option to privately message the user. The person doing the reporting can also escalate the issue to Facebook itself.
Posts flagged as being suicidal will be shuttled off to Facebook workers trained in suicide prevention. That user’s account will be temporarily blocked, and the user won’t be able to get access again until they are presented with a Facebook page showing information on preventing suicide, a suicide hotline, and an option to contact one’s friends over it.
Facebook is concentrating with users in the US first, having rolled the new tool out to a small number of users with plans to add more later on this year. Following that expansion, the tool will also then become available to those in other places globally.
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle