One of the greatest tragedies you will ever experience is the loss of a friend or loved one, and that pain is made even greater by suicide. According to a recent New York Times article, the number of those taking their lives is at an all-time, 30-year high. One company’s attempts to help with suicide prevention are worthy of note: that’s right, we’re talking about Facebook.
In another recent article featured in the Times, the company recently announced one of the greatest leaps in suicide prevention by a major corporation. They’re going to work suicide prevention tools into their platform along with “mechanisms and processes to make it easier for people to help friends who post messages about suicide or self-harm.” If you see that someone you know has posted something that seems alarming and possibly suicidal, the new features will allow you to flag the posts that might be seen as suicidal. The post will then be reviewed by an expert team at Facebook, who will then provide you with the language and tools you’ll need along with suicide prevention information that will be helpful to both you and the at-risk individual. The article is fascinating, and a bright light in a very troubled time.
We salute Facebook for their dedication to helping with suicide prevention, for taking the topic of mental health seriously, and for taking the leap to make assistance part of their platform. We hope other tech companies will follow suit so that one day anyone who needs help can simply be connected with the right assistance. It’s a day we long for greatly, and with steps like these we’ll get there with hope and grace.