Facebook wants to help when it comes to suicide and depression. The company has just rolled out a new button in the US that can be used to report someone posting depression or suicidal messages.
The company hopes that this button will prevent a number of suicide deaths while also providing people in need some help through the social network. Here’s how you can report a post that looks troublesome.
Reporting a Possible Suicide
Users in the US can now report a friend that posts suicidal thoughts or depressing messages to a Facebook account. By clicking the report button, Facebook will then launch an investigation into the messages by reviewing the report, looking at the user’s Facebook account, and sending that user a message.
The message sent to a reported user looks like this: “Hi. A friend thinks that you may be going through something difficult and asked us to look at your recent post.” Next to that message a different text box will appear with a few possible options including talking to someone right away or getting information about how to cope with suicidal feelings. When Facebook finds that someone is, in fact, feeling depressed, the company will then urge that person to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org - both are suicide help lines in the US.
Help for a Friend Too
Facebook will also be providing help for the person that reported a friend. By giving a concerned friend tools to help another person, that friend may be able to reach out and help someone looking at suicide as a direct and only option. Right now, the suicide prevention help button is only available in the US, but Facebook is working on making this button an option in other parts of the world as well.
Facebook’s new suicide option is based on a tool that the company developed back in 2011 that gathered and passed details of suicides and suicidal posts to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US and to the Samaritans in the UK. This tool was found to be highly effective, and it’s one that Facebook is now relying on to help with the newest suicide button available through the site.
Facebook has been criticized slightly for adding the new suicide help option. While the company is trying to prevent suicides, some have pointed out that studies have shown that Facebook can actually cause depression. Other critics have noted that knowing someone might report them could make a person experiencing suicidal thoughts avoid posting anything remotely depressing.
Then again, the company may be trying to prevent any depression associated with the social network, since this kind of association is negative. So, in the end, Facebook might be trying to rectify the situation by offering some kind of help.
Either way, if you do see some suspicious messages that have you feeling concerned for a friend, reporting the issue could save a life. This button option goes live in the US today, and should be available in other countries soon.