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Facebook launches suicide-prevention service

Facebook is offering a new service on its website to help prevent suicides in the United States and Canada, the social-networking giant announced Tuesday (Dec. 13).

The service is a collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free suicide prevention hotline network comprised of 152 local crisis centers.

Facebook users can report a suicidal comment they see posted by a friend to Facebook using either the Report Suicidal Content link or the "report" links found throughout the site.

The person who posted the suicidal comment immediately receives an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.

The Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis counseling to anyone in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has answered over 3 million calls since its launch in 2005, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"We're proud to expand our partnership with Lifeline, and to provide those in crisis with even more options to seek help.

"The Lifeline's commitment to suicide prevention has enabled people on Facebook to get fast, meaningful help when they need it most, and we look forward to continuing our work with them to help save lives," Facebook's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan said.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin commended Facebook and the Lifeline for addressing one of the nation's most tragic public health problems. She and Sullivan serve on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

"Nearly 100 Americans die by suicide every day -- 36,035 lives every year. For every person who is murdered, two die by suicide. These deaths are even more tragic because they are preventable. We have effective treatments to help suicidal individuals regain hope and a desire to live and we know how powerful personal connections and support can be.

"Therefore we as a nation must do everything we can to reach out to those at risk and provide them the help and hope needed to survive and return to productive lives with their family, friends, and communities," she said.

Crisis center workers from two centers in the Lifeline network, the Boys Town National Hotline and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes' 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, will respond to Facebook users opting to use the chat. The Lifeline currently responds to dozens of people each day who have expressed suicidal thoughts on Facebook, according to the announcement.

"We have been partnering with Facebook since 2006 to assist at-risk users and are thrilled to launch this new service," said John Draper, the Lifeline's project director.

"Although the Lifeline on average handles 70,000 calls per month, we have heard from our Facebook fans and others that there are many people in crisis who don't feel comfortable picking up the phone. This new service provides a way for them to get the help they need in the way they want it."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

It is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by Link2Health Solutions, a subsidiary of the Mental Health Association of New York City.

Comments

Posted by CID YOUNG, a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm

And...F/B ..what about a button to report ON_LINE BULLYING...which has shown to sometimes lead to teen suicide for those who have experienced extreme bullying, live or on-line or...BOTH!

It's a shame that the incredible resources of F/B can't be used for a positive intervention which could (also) be an anonymous report by other users.

I am a 60 year old adult, with no kids, and live in Moss Beach, CA. I am a Facebook user, but it distresses me to read news of teen bullying.


Posted by Koa, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

@CID

There is a "Report" button on any status, comment, photo or anything else someone posts. You can then select "It's harassing me" or "It's harassing a friend" which will send the content to be reviewed and removed if necessary.


Posted by Reality, a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2011 at 12:46 am

CID- While facebook is at it, they should have a button that feeds, clothes, and even changes it users who obviously don't need to participate in normal adult activities and behavior. Its a nice gesture, and hopefully will save a life, lets just accept that personal responsibility, strong parenting, and well informed schools, will and is the gold standard when it comes to solving all other issues young teens face.


Posted by fred, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 14, 2011 at 1:16 am

Facebook is for people with too much time on their hands...a useless venue


Posted by janebennett, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

janebennett is a registered user.


Just a while ago, I also read an article connected with this sensational chat support function. Please allow me to share the link. Here it is: Web Link.

It is an infallible truth that people share a big portion of their life on Facebook. In fact, several users clock in at over an hour a day on the social network. Therefore, people who are a danger to themselves might now be documented by buddies and loved ones on Facebook. In partnership with suicide prevention organizations, instant chat help will be offered.

On the contrary, others remonstrated the idea. As we all know, Facebook is a public forum, which means that the information posted on Facebook is not covered under the HIPPA medical privacy law. This means that the data shared could be utilized by companies attempting to scrape the network for insurance. However, despite this, many people are much more willing to share on Facebook, including their psychological state and their future plans.


Posted by susie, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm

How many kids have killed themselves after being bullied by too much sharing on Facebook. I think its around 6 nationwide.

Whats this BUTTON going to do. How absurd. Better to get OFF facebook and have some real friends.


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