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Facebook rolls out suicide prevention tools in Canada

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Jenni Sheppard Jun 15, 2016 6:52 am

Facebook has updated the tools it offers in Canada for anyone who may be experiencing self-injury or suicidal thoughts, as well as their concerned friends and family.

The new tools allow you to take action if you see someone post something that makes you concerned for their wellbeing, giving you the option to report the post to Facebook.

Facebook will then send the person who made the post a notification and offer them various resources, giving them the option to reach out to a friend, contact a helpline, or see tips.

According to a blog post from Facebook, it will have international teams working around the clock to review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious, such as self-injury.

However, anyone who sees a post from someone they believe is in immediate danger or crisis is still advised to call 911, as well as reporting the post, says Facebook.

Kyle Tiney with the Crisis Centre of BC told Daily Hive that suicide remains the second leading cause of death globally among 15 to 29 year olds – but the Facebook tools could help.

“Research indicates that up to 80% of suicidal people signal their intentions to others, in the hope that the signal will be recognized as a cry for help,” said Tiney.

“This great Facebook tool can assist in connecting those individuals to support.”

Facebook developed the tools with mental health organizations and input from people who have experience of self-injury and suicide and they were first introduced in the US in 2013.

How to report a post

Click on the down arrow in the top right corner of the Facebook post and choose:

Report Post > I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook > It’s threatening, violent or suicidal.

Suicide warning signs

  • Sudden marked changes in behaviour or appearance
  • Talking, joking, writing, or becoming increasingly preoccupied with suicide and death
  • Preparations for death, such as giving away possessions
  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Decline in school or work attendance/performance
  • Expressions of a sense of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Sudden losses e.g. financial, relationship break-up, death of a loved one
  • Sudden changes in eating and sleeping patterns

How you can help

  • Ask the person directly if they are considering suicide. This will not ‘give them the idea’, but it does show that you care and are taking them seriously
  • Listen and provide non-judgmental support
  • Arrange for the person to get help, whether from a crisis centre, hospital, mental health centre, or another local resource
  • Do not leave a suicidal person alone
  • Do not agree to keep another person’s suicidal thoughts a secret

Where to go for help

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or feel affected by the issues in this story, consider getting help through the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

You can find advice and contact a crisis centre in your area at this link: suicideprevention.ca. Crisis centres are available throughout Canada, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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