Suicide rates in the U.S. recently reached their highest levels in the past 30 years, with a steep increase among women. Now Facebook is taking steps to give all its users adequate tools to prevent suicides.
The company just introduced changes to its platform that would make it easier for people to help friends who post alarming and suicidal content. According to The New York Times:
"With the new features, people can flag friends’ posts that they deem suicidal; the posts will be reviewed by a team at the social network that will then provide language to communicate with the person who is at risk, as well as information on suicide prevention."
This will enable people who want to help but don't know how to at least alert someone. They may not use the right words or know how to reach out, but they can do something. After a member's status has been flagged, Facebook's community operations team members will determine if the post gives reason for concern. The next time the person whose page has been flagged logs on to their account, they'll have tips and resources in their feed about what to do when feeling suicidal.
This is a significant considering approximately 1.65 billion members around the globe use the social networking site. It's important that Facebook continue to set the tone that social networking should be about fixing some of society's biggest problems. Considering cyber bullying has led to multiple suicides, more social platforms should be finding ways to keep this from happening.