Recent news reports have highlighted several disturbing incidents of teens and tweens live streaming their own suicides on Facebook and other social networks.
In response, Facebook on Wednesday announced that its suicide prevention tools will now be integrated into Live, so if you’re watching a broadcast and someone expresses suicidal thoughts, you can report the video and get the person help.
If you’re ever in this scenario, press “report live video,” and when Facebook asks you what’s going on, select the option that says “suicide or self-injury.” From there, the broadcaster will see suicide prevention resources on their screen, including a phone number for a crisis help line. When you report a suicidal video, Facebook will also show you information on how to help your friend.
Facebook is also making it easier to connect with crisis support organizations over Messenger. Now, those who need help can message with someone from the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in real time. You can initiate a chat from the organization’s Page or through Facebook’s suicide prevention tools.
Finally, Facebook is using artificial intelligence to identify and help people report suicidal posts. The system uses pattern recognition to automatically identify posts likely to include thoughts of suicide. On these posts, Facebook will also more prominently display the option to report it for suicide or self-injury.
“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious reports like suicide,” the company said.
“If you or someone you know is in crisis, it is important to call local emergency services right away,” Facebook Product Manager Vanessa Callison-Burch, Researcher Jennifer Guadagno and Head of Global Safety Antigone Davis wrote in a blog post. “You can also visit our Help Center for information about how to support yourself or a friend.”
They added that there’s one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds. Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds.
“Experts say that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is for those in distress to hear from people who care about them,” the team wrote.