Facebook launches new suicide prevention tools

Facebook integrates new suicide prevention tools into their Facebook Live feature to help users get assistance.
By Amy Wallace  |  March 2, 2017 at 3:35 PM
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March 2 (UPI) -- Facebook has taken more steps to combat suicide with new suicide prevention tools after three teens took their own lives while on Facebook Live.

In a post on the social network, Facebook announced it will be launching new suicide prevention tools for its Facebook Live feature to make it easier for friends of users to contact them or help them get help.

The enhanced Facebook Live suicide prevention tools are rolling out after three people killed themselves while streaming live in recent months. The changes were developed with the help of several mental health organizations, including Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront and Crisis Text Line.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 29.

"Facebook is in a unique position -- through friendships on the site -- to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them," Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch, research Jennifer Guadagno and head of global safety Antigone Davis wrote in the post. "It's part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook."

The new tools to report suicidal or self-harm content on a status, and now Facebook Live video, are both easier to find and easier to interact with. For the user who is broadcasting, a message from Facebook will pop up, partially blocking the video screen stating, "Someone thinks you might need extra support right now and asked us to help."

The person deemed in danger of suicide can then contact a helpline, view tips or message a friend directly from that window. The resource icons will remain visible in the tool bar next to the finish button to be accessed at any time during the live broadcast.

The person reporting the potentially suicidal person will also get tips on how to talk about suicide or will be directed to contact mental health professionals through a lifeline. The reporter can also be connected via chat to a mutual friend of the suicidal person to reach out for help.

The new Facebook Live suicide prevention tools launch this month.

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