Facebook has rolled out new tools in the US that aim to help prevent suicides, allowing users to report content for review and encourage the vulnerable to get help.
The tools build on a reporting feature implemented in 2011, which passed details to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US, and the Samaritans in the UK. The new initiative involves a trained team, more resources and features to help those at risk of suicide or self-harm.After reviewing a report and confirming that it may indicate suicidal feelings in a user, Facebook will send that user notifications stating that a friend has attempted to help and offering access to suicide prevention resources.
Vulnerable users will then be encouraged to connect to the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or a friend, or to seek self-help advice from resources developed in partnership with mental health organisations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org in the US.The new tools will also allow the user who reported the content to access support resources, including messaging or calling options to help their friend and to get advice from another friend or from a suicide support helpline.
“If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that they contact their local emergency services immediately,” said Rob Boyle and Nicole Staubli of Facebook.The update is currently rolling out to users in the US. Facebook said that it was also seeking to improve its tools around suicide outside of the US.