Facebook has partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create a new feature that would allow users to live chat with a suicide prevention specialist. The social networking giant is also working on a feature that would let users alert Facebook if they are alarmed by something they read or see on a friend’s profile. Once contacted, Facebook officials will send a message to that friend urging them to utilize the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
As opposed to Facebook’s other suicide prevention efforts, this one doesn’t rely on monitoring or algorithms. It simply encourages friends to look out for friends and speak up if something seems awry. In the past Facebook had contacted the Lifeline with a user’s information if he or she was flagged as suicidal by the system.
This could be a wonderful addition to Facebook, especially as cyberbullying incidents are increasing with technology. A February 2010 survey carried out by the Cyberbullying Research Center cited that 20.8 percent of respondents (ages 10 to 18) said they had been the victim of cyber bullying at least once in their lives.
Here’s hoping more social media organizations will join the effort soon.