According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, globally more than 800,000 people die of suicide each year. In light of this figure, Facebook’s announcement last week that it will roll out its suicide prevention tools and resources worldwide is a welcome initiative.
The tools, which will be available in local languages where members are based, and the resources are designed to help Facebook members who may be thinking about committing suicide or otherwise hurting themselves, as well as family and friends who are concerned about their loved ones' well-being.
Facebook said that members can use the updated resources either to contact the vulnerable person directly or to contact the company, which has teams of workers dedicated to making sure a member in distress is able to find help before pain or sadness turns into something far more serious.
Among the tools available on the site are links to suicide prevention hotlines; links to guide users to friends, family or other professionals who might help talk them through a situation; and links and toll-free numbers to various international suicide prevention and mental health groups.
There are also links to eating disorder organizations, to websites offering self-care tips, and to sites for reporting online bullying and other abusive behavior. There are links for parents and educators who feel their child or student may be at risk.