Whether it is being distraught over the loss of a job, a financial situation, a relationship that comes to an end, bullying or other major problems in life, suicide is oftentimes a consideration for those seeing no other way out.
According to U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s office, approximately 100 Americans die by suicide each day, and 36,035 a year.
Social media giant Facebook is hoping that its presence on the web encourages some people considering the drastic action to take their own lives will reach out for help.
Recently, the company went public with its online program that allows users to instantaneously connect themselves to a crisis worker via Facebook’s “chat” messaging system.
The tool is being used in an effort to give desperate people a reason to think twice, especially in light of some publicized cases where people expressed their plans online to take their own lives.
While both Yahoo and Google have made available on their sites the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline when someone is looking for information on suicide, Facebook had no such option. Now, the company’s offering gives the individual contemplating suicide the ability to immediately speak with a crisis counselor.
The system works when someone notices suicidal tendencies on an individual’s page. The person reports the item to Facebook, who in turn sends an email to the individual who posted the suicidal thought. That person is then encouraged to call the crisis hotline or hit a link where they can start a confidential chat.
According to Benjamin’s office, “Facebook and Lifeline are to be commended for addressing one of this nation’s most tragic public health programs.”
Crisis center workers will be available 24 hours a day to work with users choosing the chat option.
While some individuals have come out in saying they feel this idea leads to invasion of privacy issues, especially if someone is not serious about suicide but posting such comments anyhow, the pros far outweigh the cons as far as I can see.
Just think about it, someone using Facebook to announce they’re thinking or planning to take their own life is crying out for help.
How can you find fault with Facebook or any other such service who simply wants to give the individual something to think about, especially the fact that suicide is permanent.