Facebook rolls out suicide and self-injury prevention tools globally

Facebook is updating the resources it offers to people who may be experiencing self-injury or suicidal thoughts, and rolling out its expanded toolset to all available languages in collaboration with local partners around the world.

“We’re extremely encouraged by the launch of Facebook’s new tools and their potential to provide a crucial link between the digital spaces where kids are sharing at any time of day, and their supporters and allies who are always there for kids when they need us the most,” said Sharon Wood, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, in an accompanying press release sent to MobileSyrup.

Kid’s Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 counseling service for youth and Facebook’s partner organization in this country.

One section of the tools is for users who are concerned about a friend’s well-being due to a frightening or unsettling post. The first step is to enter the menu for reporting posts. Users must then choose “I think this post shouldn’t be on Facebook,” followed by “It’s threatening, violent or suicidal,” and finally “Suicidal content.”

This leads them to a list of options, the three main choices being: reach out to them directly, send a message to a friend or family member about them, or report the post to Facebook.

If reported to Facebook, the company’s 24/7 team reviews the message, prioritizes it amongst others, then sends help and resources to those in distress as a pop-up (that can be dismissed) the next time they log in to their account.

Those resources include the option to reach out to a friend, contact a helpline, or see tips for feeling better. Users can also find the resources at any point in their “Support Inbox” in Facebook’s menu options.

“With so many people using social media today, it’s important to help users learn to recognize and act on behalf of friends, family and colleagues who may need help,” said Dr. Patrick Smith, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, adding that his organization applauds Facebook for its efforts to turn a social network in to a true support network.

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