Did you know that Facebook now has a new suicide prevention protocol feature? If you see a post from a “friend,” you are able to now take different courses of action on Facebook to intervene. Should you see a concerning post, you can activate the report feature by clicking the arrow in the corner of the post. Facebook will prompt you to answer a few questions to indicate if it may be a suicidal post. From there you will have the options to contact the user directly, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via chat or phone, or have Facebook review the post to determine risk.
In a recent study performed by The American Association of Suicidology, it was found that while many Facebook users have the capacity to assess and determine risk, little is done about it once the risk is determined. This means that YOU have the power to save a life. We’re all guilty of skimming through our news feed, barely reading what is on the screen in front of us. However, Project Seth would encourage you to try to be a little more aware of what you are reading. It could mean the difference of saving a life or losing one.
It was also found in this study, that most users who didn’t know the potential person at risk well, were less likely to reach out and offer support. No surprise there. However, what is a surprise is that when asked, suicidal/depressed users said they would be open to an acquaintance or even a stranger reaching out, rather than no one reaching out at all. While it’s easy to see these posts as “attention seeking” or “over dramatic,” in reality it could be a cry for help. It’s not worth the risk of just continuing to scroll down to the next post, when you could change a person’s life just by reaching out.