Facebook is launching a new suicide prevention feature, and it is so heartening to see social media moving in this direction. Many social media sites have offered ways to “report” suicidal or self harm posts or content for the last few years, but in a new partnership, I believe Facebook is taking things is the right direction.
You can now “report” self harm on Facebook, but in the new system that is currently rolling out, users are given more options to report worrying content. Facebook will then look at reported posts to assess the crisis, and the person will receive pop ups with additional ways to get help when he or she next logs in.
For me, as a person who struggles personally, the pop up windows below really touch me. Often times when I’m in a bad place, being offered the Lifeline phone number isn’t what I really want. I hate talking on the phone. I’m not comfortable with strangers. Of course it’s in my nature to withdraw when I’m in a depressed state, but being shy in person can be a part of who I am. And If I’m forced to only find help on a telephone, I know that I’ll break down and cry and feel shame, even if the person on the other line is kind to me.
I’d much rather connect online. I can express my feelings so much easier. I can be who I am without as much fear.
Text chatting with others who get it is awesome, but also reading about things I can do right now to break the pattern, and attempt better self care can make a huge impact for me. We all need reminders! Reading ways others take care of themselves when they are struggling, not only makes me know I’m not alone, but gives me real world ideas for how to better take care of myself in the here and now.
The program announced yesterday by Facebook, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention will work for both desktop and mobile. I really think mobile is SO key.
I applaud Facebook for reaching out to survivors and researchers to determine what will actually help those of us who struggle.
What do you think? Do you think the new program will make an impact?