Other States

Facebook launches resources to help a friend in need


Launches resources to help people who may be experiencing thoughts of self-injury or suicide

Each time someone logs onto Facebook, they come across a host of emotions while scrolling through their news feed. Sandwiched between the numerous “shared” experiences and status updates are people expressing sadness or grief.

Hidden between a status update sometimes are signs that someone may be depressed, suicidal or needs help. Facebook has called the attention of its 1.65-billion strong community to remain alert to such messages in order to help save lives.

Updated version

The social media giant launched an updated version of the resources they offer to people around the world who may be experiencing thoughts about self-injury or suicide, and a possible solution to concerned friends and family members.

In India, the feature has been developed in association with Aasra, a charity that provides anonymous and professional counselling, and The Live Love Laugh Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation started by actor Deepika Padukone.

The feature was originally developed in collaboration with mental health organisations and inputs from people who have personal experience with self-injury and suicide. In India, it will be available in both Hindi and English.

Writing about the initiative, Facebook global head of safety, Antigone Davis and Facebook researcher Jennifer Guadagno explained that if someone posts something that leaves another user concerned about their well being, the concerned party can reach out to them directly or report the post to Facebook with the help of these new tools.

“We have teams working 24x7 around the world to review reports that come in, prioritise the most serious reports like self-injury, and reach out to people. As of today, the resources we send to the person who posted something concerning will include an expanded set of options. People can now choose to reach out to a friend, contact a helpline or see tips,” wrote Mr. Davis.

Report anonymously

After someone reports a post anonymously, the seemingly distressed person will be asked if they need help. Earlier, users had to upload a screenshot or URL of the concerning post on its suicide prevention page.

With the new tool, which works on both the desktop and mobile, the user concerned will be asked if he or she needs help. He or she will then be given the option to message or call a person they trust, contact a helpline or be directed to various other resources they can use.

Meanwhile, Delhiites had a mixed reaction towards the new feature.

While some said it was a much-needed tool since people who do not express themselves in person take to social media to write messages that may contain what they are actually feeling, others said people will just cancel the notification and continue if reported.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:44:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Facebook-launches-resources-to-help-a-friend-in-need/article14427160.ece

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