NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new Facebook feature has users hitting the “like” button. Because of online bullying and teen suicide, the social network came up with a new tool they hope will save lives.
“The worst thing is if we see a suicide and no one ever said anything,” Dr. Drew Ramsey said.
Scrolling through Facebook feeds, we see people share a lot of emotions. But what if you spot something alarming?
“Everyone has the power really to prevent a suicide. So if you have a concern, listen to your gut, say something, get that conversation started,” Ramsey said.
Facebook partnered with mental health organizations to add an extra lifesaving option.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, if you see a post from a friend that worries you, click the arrow on the right—the same way you would report any post—and can either message the person to ask how they are or ask Facebook to intervene.
The notification is completely confidential. Facebook insists this will not turn into a bullying tool. Teams of experts will review any report that comes in. Facebook said the experts will “prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress.”
Those CBS2 spoke with said it’s sounds like a helpful tool.
“As long as people use it responsibly,” one man said.
“Put them in the right hands of someone who can help them with whatever issues they are having,” another said.
“I think it’s a good thing, especially for younger kids,” another woman told CBS2.
Dr. Ramsey agrees.
“We know that a lot of people, like adolescents, aren’t going to reach out through traditional means, and this gives people something to do,” he said.
Facebook lets the users know someone is concerned about them and offer a trained helper to talk to as well as personal care tips.
“The first step is to express concern and why in a caring way and then secondly, I think you want to assess risk,” Dr. Ramsey said.
If Facebook determines that there is an imminent threat, they will contact local law enforcement who will do a welfare check at the person’s home.