Not that long ago, one of my best friends called me, crying uncontrollably. Someone she loved had just killed himself. I’ve never seen anyone so sad, lost, confused, angry, and generally just a mess as my friend was after she found out—and I hope to never have to see anyone go through that again.
I know it’s not always possible to stop someone from taking their own life, and also get it that depression and suicide are really scary big issues that need to be dealt with super carefully. But obviously, we love our friends and want to do anything we can to help keep them around, no matter how sucky life seems.
That’s why I’m so happy that Facebook has launched a new suicide prevention tool on their site. If you see a friend saying they are thinking about killing themselves, or they say something that just makes you really worried that they might try suicide, you can hook them up with a live, on-screen chat with a trained counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Here’s how it works: You know that little arrow at the top right corner of every post on your feed? Well, if you see a post that worries you, you click that and then choose “Report Story or Spam.” Then, when the little box comes up, click “File a report,” and choose “Violence or Harmful Behavior,” and finally pick “Suicidal content.” The person you’re worried about will then get an email suggesting that they call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and also offering that on-screen chat session with a counselor.
Even if this new tool only saves one life, I think it’s amazing. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a counselor or therapist and might not know the right thing to say if one of my friends’ lives was at risk. It’s a relief to know there’s help out there, for anybody who needs it.
Have you ever seen a friend post something that worried you? How did you deal with it? Tell us in the comments.