Facebook's New Suicide Prevention Tools Finally Get it Right

By Ashley Feinberg on at

Facebook doesn't exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to sensitivity, but its newest tool (built in collaboration with the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is thankfully bucking that trend. Now, if you see a worrisome post from a friend and report it, Facebook will prompt them to get help on their next login—after a third party reviews it.

That last part is key, because while information on who to talk to and where to get help can be wildly helpful, there will always be those looking to abuse the system. But this way, any reports of troubling content will be checked out by Facebook's "teams working around the world, 24/7," which will hopefully keep trolls out. And, of course, the tools were designed with help from people who know what they're doing. According to Facebook:

Besides encouraging them to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings. All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners.

The rollout will be happening over the next few months, but it will presumably come in as an option in the drop-down "report" menu within posts themselves. And if this helps even one person, it'll be worth it. [Facebook via The Verge]

If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, please call the Samaritans on 0845 790 9090.