Facebook is now doing its part to help prevent suicide.
The social network has debuted a new tool that enables members to report suicidal posts. Members who flag such posts can now also be connected with a trained professional at a suicide hotline who will offer advice on how to help a friend in distress.
“If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that they contact their local emergency services immediately,” Facebook product manager Rob Boyler and Facebook community operations safety specialist Nicole Staubli wrote in a blog post.
“We also ask them to report any troubling content to us. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in. They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress.”
Facebook has upped the level of support it can offer to members who have been flagged by a friend as suicidal.
The next time a member logs on to Facebook after being flagged, he or she will receive a message encouraging them to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Facebook will also provide tips and advice on how that person can work through his or her feelings and give him or her the option of reaching out to a friend.
Facebook worked with mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org to put in place its suicide and self-injury prevention plan.
The new tools will roll out to all American Facebook users over the next few months. Facebook said it is “also working to improve our tools for those outside the U.S.”