Facebook User Operations Safety Team workers look at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011
Facebook User Operations Safety Team workers look at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 Paul Sakuma—AP

How Facebook Is Helping Suicidal People

Feb 26, 2015

Facebook is going to give timelier help to users who post updates suggesting thoughts of suicide, the company announced on Wednesday.

According to a Facebook post written by Product Manager Rob Boyle and Safety Specialist Nicole Staubli, a trained team will review reports of posts that appear to be suicidal and if necessary send the poster notifications with suicide prevention resources, such as a connection to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline.

The Facebook support posts are expected to look something like this:

Facebook-Suicide-Prevention-hotline-posts FACEBOOK
11001747_817721204932386_5834579040372627570_n FACEBOOK

They also will contact the person reporting the posts, providing them with options to call or message the potentially suicidal friend, or to also seek the advice of a trained professional.

The new approach is an update on a clunkier system, implemented in 2011, that required users to upload links and screenshots to the official Facebook suicide prevention page.

For the project, Facebook worked with suicide prevention organizations Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org.

The company was clear that the update was not a replacement for local emergency services.

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