Facebook has become one of those platforms where users share absolutely everything – from curious news stories to pregnancy announcements and sometimes even their darkest thoughts.
For years, all that users had to go on in terms of flagging a potential self-harm situation was a clunky web form. However, the social network then got around to providing users with a better way of expressing our concern for a friend’s status that indicates suicidal moods.
Last year, Facebook vastly improved this by adding a flagging mechanism to the already established “Report Post” menu. This is accessible by clicking on the little arrow at the top right corner of any post.
After being originally debuted in the US, Facebook’s suicide prevention tool was then rolled out in Australia a few months ago. But now, users in UK can also make use of the service by accessing the “Report Post” menu.
In the drop-down, Brits will now have a new option: flagging any post, picture, or video that they perceive as a cry for help. If you assess an immediate threat, Facebook recommends you call emergency services, but otherwise, you are prompted to reach out to the person in question.
The network also suggests you talk to another friend about your concerns, or contact a professional about how you could be supportive to the friend going through a hard time. At the same time, Facebook offers you the possibility of checking the concerning post, and an internal team will make it their priority to look into it.
Next time this friend logs into their account or taps on the Facebook app, they will receive a notification telling them that someone is worried they may be hitting a rough patch. They will be offered several courses of action, such as talking to a friend about it or to a helpline worker who could offer them tips about dealing with the problem.
On the UK rollout of these suicide prevention tools, Facebook has collaborated with the Samaritans, a charity volunteering their services to anyone who wants to talk about suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
A few years ago, the Samaritans built its own tool that allowed users to flag worrying tweets, but eventually pulled it after realizing it might do more harm than good.
Keep in mind that Facebook’s reporting system isn’t by far foolproof, but depression and other mental health conditions deserve to be a priority.
Image Source: Digital Trends