Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Private chats become the new suicide hotline on Facebook — VentureBeat

 

 

Author’s comment….

A few years back I was in a Yahoo chat room conversing with someone who suddenly started talking about his suicidal thoughts.
Very quickly I was able to get ahold of a suicide hotline number and pass it on to him. He thanked me and left the room.
To this day I think about him, wondering if he called, and if he is OK……

 

Private chats become the new suicide hotline on Facebook 

From the 15 December 2011 Forbes article

Facebook unveiled a suicide prevention tool to give users a direct link to online counselors, illustrating the social network’s efforts to expand its role in responding to crises.

With the feature, friends can report suspected suicidal behavior by clicking a button next to any piece of content on Facebook. Users select “suicidal content” under the harmful behavior menu, prompting Facebook to email a direct link to the distressed user for a private online chat with a crisis representative from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The tool provides help to those who may not be comfortable picking up the phone or seeking other direct avenues for assistance.

The concerned friends, whose reporting of the behavior will be anonymous, will also receive a message that the issue is being addressed, according to Facebook, which will offer the tool for users in the U.S. and Canada.

The tool formalizes Facebook’s past assistance to users in times of distress. This summer, a Florida woman reportedly used Facebook to call for help after breaking her leg, and Facebook helped a Tennessee woman without a phone contact police after a robbery, illustrating the growing role social networks play in public safety.

In addition to these anecdotal uses, Facebook has been pursuing official ways the social network can help those in natural disasters and other crises….

The role Facebook played likely prompted the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, to explore how social media can help in federal efforts to help prepare and deal with such emergencies.

The HHS is developing a text message service that local authorities can broadcast to inform people during emergencies.

December 16, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , ,

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