Facebook Adds New Tools For Suicide Prevention

In an effort to help those who may be expressing suicidal thoughts on Facebook, the social media site announced today that it’s worked with mental health experts to come up with new tools that will provide resources, advice and support those users, as well as friends and family members who might be worried about them when reading those posts.

As part of the company’s fifth Compassion Research Day, Facebook announced the tools it developed with mental health organizations as well as consulting with people who have been through tough times either in their own lives or with loved ones, in order to find the best way to offer assistance.

Noting how important connecting with people who care can help in those times of distress, Facebook says the new tools will allow users to report direct threats of suicide, first by contacting local emergency services, and then by telling Facebook about any troubling content.

“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,” the post says.

It’s also expanding help for users after Facebook has reviewed a report of something they’ve posted, including content that might be flagged by a loved one. The next time that person logs in, they’ll be encouraged to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

It also gives those people the option of reaching out to a friend and tips and advice on how to work through troubling feelings.

“We’re also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support,” Facebook says.

The updates will be implemented for everyone who uses Facebook in the U.S. in the next couple of months, while the site is working on improving tools for those outside the U.S. as well, Facebook says.