A role for social media in suicide prevention

In late January, The Age reported the story of a teenage Melbourne girl who blogged a suicide note. One of her readers managed to track down her family using her Twitter account. Police were called, and the girl is still alive.

And now, the social media giant, Facebook, has recently announced it is expanding its partnership with the US-based National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in an effort to save more lives.

If a Facebook user notes a troubling post, they can report it using the “Help” tab. Under the “Report abuse and policy violations” heading there are options to report bullying, a suicide threat, hate speech and more. People whose Facebook postings have been reported will be sent a link with a phone number for a suicide prevention agency, and they will be offered the opportunity for a live chat with a suicide prevention counsellor.

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