If you ever spot an emotional update on Facebook by one of your friends, you can do something about it. Facebook is rolling out its suicide prevention tool to the public, allowing users to report worrying content on Facebook and helping those in need.
This feature is developed in collaboration with mental health organisations and was previously only available in the U.S. and the U.K. However, since suicide rate is so high, Facebook has decided to roll out the tool around the world in collaboration with local partners and in all languages Facebook is available in.
As of today, if you spot an update that makes you concerned about their well-being, you can report the post to Facebook. Once flagged, Facebook will send the author a message telling them that someone was concerned about their post. Facebook will give them options to talk with a trusted friend, call a helpline, get tips and support, or skip. You can also directly message your Friend and Facebook will offer suggestions on wordings.
If you are worried about spams, don’t be. Facebook says that there is a team behind the feature that reviews incoming reports and prioritises most serious cases like self-injury.
This is definitely a very useful feature on Facebook because sometimes, all a person want is just to talk it out with someone, and know that there are people who care.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, and the second most common for deaths of people aged between 15 and 24. The most common cause for suicide is untreated depression, and cyberbullying has been found to be strongly related to suicidal ideas. That's why it's important that organizations create as safe a space online as they can.
If you suspect someone you know is in immediate physical danger, Facebook recommends calling 112(Lagosians) or law enforcement for help. For those who are worried about a loved one but don't know how to help, it's a relief to have these resources within such easy reach.