Facebook suicide prevention helpful

Others should follow Facebook’s example to address the warning signs of self-harm and suicide.

Destanie Martin-Johnson

The social network Facebook is adding resources to help people struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Last week, the tech giant announced that in the next few months, people will be able to report to the company any posts suggesting harm.

Facebook then would alert the reporter to call emergency services if needed. The site would also message the poster with ways to get tips or support online, resources to talk with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or advice to talk to a friend.

In 2013, someone in the United States “died by suicide every 12.8 minutes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Suicide is a serious issue. No one should ever dismiss someone expressing suicidal thoughts. Social shaming and cyber-bullying have become regular aspects of social media, so it’s great that Facebook is developing tools to help mental health. More social sites should be ready to interactively help those needing guidance.

Serious and controversial issues are sometimes hard for people to talk about, but we must address them in order to understand what we can do about them. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open all day, every day for those seeking help. It can be reached over the phone at 1-800-273-8255 or online.

If someone you know is feeling depressed, genuinely reaching out to him or her is always a good option. In my experience, reaching out, talking to someone and letting them feel that you care is sometimes the best way to help.