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Suicide Hotline Goes Digital on Facebook

December 14, 2011

Everyone who uses Facebook, young people and adults alike, should be aware of a welcome new feature aimed at suicide prevention. Well, it’s not all new—Facebook has been partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline since 2006, according to CNN, and this past summer the social networking site began allowing users to flag suicidal content. After a review by Facebook staff, the at-risk person receives an email with NSPL information and the phone number: 888.273.TALK

But now the government service and the site have opened a new line of communication between users and trained suicide counselors: chat. Users who have had their comments flagged and evaluated are given the option of a live instant message conversation with a crisis worker.

Before anyone accuses us of gigantic-Internet-company favoritism, Google is also on the bandwagon and provides links to the NSPL and the hotline phone number when suspicious search terms are entered. So, kudos to these companies for trying to help their most vulnerable users, and doing it in the lingua franca of the 21st century. Of course, there is so much more to be done.

Tagged with: Mental Health, Prevention and Screening
Harry Kimball
Harry Kimball is the former Director of Marketing and Communications of the Child Mind Institute. He helped guide the organization’s … Read Bio