Facebook has enhanced and expanded the geographical reach of tools designed to rescue people whose social media behavior signals a possible intention to commit suicide. Facebook users can report a worrying post, receive guidance from trained experts on how to help their friend, and if evaluated as an immediate threat get instructions on how to alert emergency services. If deemed serious, the reporting will also trigger a stream of suggestions for getting help into the distressed person’s Facebook news feed.
Given the intense connection that many people have with social media—Facebook has about 1.4 billion users—some experts believe the new tools can have a tangible impact.
The Mighty has a good illustrated guide on how it works here.
The New York Times had a story on June 15 explaining how the new tools work.
Also read the report from the website of the University of Washington, whose Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention organization collaborated with Facebook on the tools. The new tools were announced at Compassion Research Day at Facebook headquarters on February 25.
The moving Facebook video and text post of 27-year-old Dublin man Doug Leddin opening up about his struggle with depression has gone viral:
Here’s the text of Doug’s Facebook post:
It’s not often I post something too serious on Social Media and I’m not sure this is the right thing to do and to be honest i’m nervous as hell writing this status but I hope it helps others and I hope you can share this if you think it will help someone.
There is something I have wanted to get off my chest for a long time, 10 years in fact. This will come as a surprise to some of my closest friends who I just couldn’t talk to for fear of loosing them or not being accepted.
But after a lot of thought and consideration I decided to make a video to lift this burden off my shoulders and to share my experiences with you.
I’m talking about depression and its something we all need to talk more about, for too long people have suffered in silence and its not right and as hard as it is to talk about it, it genuinely does help. Im not saying that by opening up to your friends, family, colleagues or even teammates that it will make everything ok, but it will certainly help.
To my best friends I have to say sorry, sorry for not having the courage to do this sooner.
To my family, thank you for the support over the past 10 years.
I’m now 27 and in a much better place in my life. I have spent years in and out of doctors, John of Gods and various other places getting help since the age of 16. It was a dark place and I suffered alone and I shouldn’t have. The past year have been much better and i’m thankfully in a place now that I feel comfortable sharing this and although I wish it didn’t take me this long to open up it did and I cant change that but hopefully I can encourage a few others to do the same.
I suppose the reason I’m doing this is to try encourage others to speak about their mental health issues with family, friends or even organisations.
If you think this could help someone please feel free to share it.
Together we can beat the stigma associated with mental health, an issue that is on the rise with people of our generation.
Just remember you are not alone!
If anyone needs to talk to anyone there are plenty of organisations out there that can help:
Pieta House, Preventing Suicide and Self Harm
Reach Out Ireland
A Lust For Life
Possibly the most nerve wrecking thing I have ever done is writing this and clicking “Post”.