Facebook launches suicide prevention tool to detect suicidal behavior

Social networking, in general has been touching more aspects of our lives than we can imagine, or that we are even aware of. While most of us just use it as the means of staying connected with our pals, there have been instances, where social networks become a platform to exhibit suicidal behavior for those who're troubled with their lives. Facebook with its 800 million and growing active user base was working on a set-up to reach out to those who exhibit such disturbing behavior and offer them encouraging words, advice and other required assistance, confirms Reuters. The result? Facebook has introduced a suicide prevention tool for their platform, wherein contacts of those who've been showing such behavior can report it to Facebook and help initiate action.

An attempt to discourage suicidal behavior (Image credit: Getty Images)

An attempt to discourage suicidal behavior (Image credit: Getty Images)



On noticing specific behavioral changes in one's contact's status updates, and the likes, which show suicidal bends, users can report it by clicking on the report option available next to any content on Facebook, and then picking 'suicidal content' under the 'harmful behavior' option. Once Facebook is informed, they will on their part send an e-mail to the 'suicidal' user containing a direct link for engaging in a private online chat with a crisis representative from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, along with the group's contact number. In addition to this, users can report suicidal behavior by going to the Help Center on Facebook or look out for suicide reporting forums on Facebook. Also, those who reported this in the first place will receive an e-mail saying that the issue has been addressed. 


This report states that this service is available only to Facebook users across the United States and Canada. However, over the years, other nations across the globe, including India, have been reporting a vast number of suicides. Each day, we read about several such instances, wherein students, over-worked professionals, married couples are forced to take the extreme step. Thanks to the Internet, major portions of our urban population have access to Facebook, among others, and these platforms in turn become the window to their lives.  


Do you think we need services like these on a popular platform like Facebook in India, too? Let us know in the comments section below.

Published Date: Dec 14, 2011 11:51 am | Updated Date: Dec 14, 2011 11:51 am