Facebook’s Newest Feature Could Save Lives

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Facebook has already gained some points by completely removing its restrictions on gender. Now, in an effort to continue to meet the diverse needs of its users, the site announced this week that it will be rolling out a new suicide prevention program for those in the U.S.  Using the feature, users can alert Facebook to any worrying behavior they see, especially anyone who seems to be in distress or who may be contemplating suicide. Once notified, Facebook will then privately contact that person, offering the chance for them to speak with a helpline worker or reach out to a friend. Of course, if you see a direct threat of suicide, Facebook encourages you to call local emergency services, too. Facebook created this new system as a way for concerned friends to reach out and for those in danger to access help. And, the company worked with several mental health foundations, including SAVE and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to make it happen. This strategy could be particularly important because studies continue to show that excessive use of social media is associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety. As we continue to replace IRL conversations with online ones, it may be tempting to retreat into isolation — and Netflix. So, it's good to know at least one social media platform is watching out for us.
Image: Courtesy of Facebook.

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