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Building a Safer Community With New Suicide Prevention Tools

By Vanessa Callison-Burch, Product Manager, Jennifer Guadagno, Researcher, and Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety

There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 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.

Facebook is in a unique position — through friendships on the site — to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.

Today we’re updating the tools and resources we offer to people who may be thinking of suicide, as well as the support we offer to their concerned friends and family members:

Already on Facebook if someone posts something that makes you concerned about their well-being, you can reach out to them directly or report the post to us. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious reports like suicide. We provide people who have expressed suicidal thoughts with a number of support options. For example, we prompt people to reach out to a friend and even offer pre-populated text to make it easier for people to start a conversation. We also suggest contacting a help line and offer other tips and resources for people to help themselves in that moment.

Suicide prevention tools have been available on Facebook for more than 10 years and were developed in collaboration with mental health organizations such as Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront and Crisis Text Line, and with input from people who have personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide. In 2016 we expanded the availability of the latest tools globally — with the help of over 70 partners around the world — and improved how they work based on new technology and feedback from the community.

Supporting Someone on Facebook Live

Empowering Crisis Support Partners

Partners are key to our work in suicide prevention and mental health support.

Making Reporting Easier

We work to address posts expressing thoughts of suicide as quickly and accurately as possible.

Suicide prevention is one way we’re working to build a safer community on Facebook. With the help of our partners and people’s friends and family members on Facebook, we’re hopeful we can support more people over time.