Facebook has come out with a bold, revolutionary and a new tool to help troubled users of its social networking services. The new ‘Suicide Prevention‘ tool has been designed with the aim to quickly recognize troubled users, who are in need of urgent personal and emotional attention. The tool can be utilized to initiate timely action to provide the requisite mental support in order to wean away a potential suicide victim from entertaining any suicidal thoughts.
With allegations of social networking sites affecting many users’ interpersonal and social communication skills, most social networking websites came under increasing stress to handle a negative image problem. With psychologists coming out heavily on such websites that hook teenagers to the internet, instead of enabling them to become more integrated with their actual and real environment, Facebook too, like other social networking platforms, was feeling the heat from parents and doctors alike. This presented a potential risk for Facebook, which might have to bear the brunt of a rising tide of instances of internet induced depression.
Fearing such a potential backlash from the internet community, those at the helm of affairs at Facebook have now come out with a significant tool to address such concerns. The tool allows the friends of a ‘troubled’ user to flag any status messages or updates, which that friend finds to be of a ‘depressing’ or ‘troubled’ nature. If a post is flagged in such a manner, then the user receives a message with several options as a preliminary first step to convey that those with suicidal tendencies still have options.
Facebook, through its tool informs the user that a friend of the user has flagged his post and deserves attention by Facebook. This may have the effect of immediately lifting the spirits of the troubled person. In the next steps, Facebook through a choice based dialogue box encourages the troubled user to seek help, either by talking to someone and reach out to a friend or a helpline worker. Alternately, Facebook also provides the user with the choice to walk through simple tips to avoid a catastrophe.
Facebook had entered into a partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline back in 2011, which had established a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This number could be dialed anywhere in the United States to instantly connect the caller with confidential and expert help.
But since entering into a partnership with the NSPL, Facebook had a manual system only wherein a friend of the user had to initiate analog measures to engage an NSPL expert for the troubled friend. This may have not been very effective and Facebook has now gotten it right by installing a tool integrated into the Facebook interface itself, so that remedial steps could be taken immediately