Facebook rolls out revised Suicide Prevention Tool

19 Feb, 2016

Facebook is taking action to help users who may be feeling suicidal, launching a new prevention tool

Facebook has launched an updated Suicide Prevention Tool for UK users experiencing difficulties, expanding the availability of help, advice and resources offered to those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

With the revised service, users can now report worrying posts more directly, with those who have been reported now greeted with messages of encouragement and practical advice on their next log in. A dedicated team have been put in place to review concerning posts 24/7, determining which are the most serious. 

Similar services already exist for Facebook users in the US and Australia. 

Julie de Bailliencourt, safety policy manager EMEA at Facebook, said: "Keeping the Facebook community safe is our most important responsibility. We worked with organisations including Samaritans to develop these tools, and one of the first things they told us was how much connecting with people who care can help those who are struggling to cope - whether offline or online.

"People use Facebook to connect with friends and family, and that's why we're evolving the support, resources and advice available to people who are in distress and their concerned friends and family."

Now, when potentially suicidal users log into their Facebook account following a concerning post, they are greeted with a message saying: "You matter to us, so we want to offer support if you need it. You're not alone – we do this for many people every month. What would you like to do?"

They are then asked if they wish to speak to a friend or someone directly from Samaritans, and pointed towards additional tips and support.

Likewise, the friend who reports such incidents is given options such as calling or messaging their distressed friend or reaching out to a trained volunteer for support.

"Social media is a great thing, it provides an outlet for many people and it's a great source of information and support," added Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland. "It's a way that we connect with our friends, a way of communication. Samaritans welcomes Facebook's commitment to keeping their users safe in this environment."

To find out more, visit the official Samaritans site.