Facebook uses World Suicide Prevention Day to highlight the support it offers


This Sunday -- September 10 -- is World Suicide Prevention Day. Facebook is using the global event to draw attention to the help it offers to those contemplating suicide.

The social network is planning to run ads in users' newsfeeds throughout the month, highlighting the supportive groups and suicide prevention tools that are available. Facebook is also launching a new Online Well-being portal which features advice about suicide prevention and how to resolve problems.

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Facebook's resources have been developed in conjunction with mental health organizations, and the social network believes that it is "in a unique position to help" those in need. As well as offering a line of communication for people to reach out to, Facebook is also able to use technology to recognize potentially worrying patterns in users' posts so there is an opportunity to step in and offer support.

Facebook's head of global safety, Antigone Davis, says:

People can also reach out to Facebook when they see something that makes them concerned about a friend's well-being. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious reports like suicide.

For those who reach out to us, we provide suggested text to make it easier for people to start a conversation with their friend in need and also provide information and resources for how to best handle the situation. We provide the friend who has expressed suicidal thoughts information about local help lines, along with other tips and resources. Thanks to over 80 partners around the world, the resources people see are specific to where they are located.

We take other steps, such as working with suicide prevention partners to collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide. We offer resources to people that search for these terms on Facebook. We also remove content that violates our Community Standards, which don't allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide.

Watch out for the newsfeed ads over the coming weeks. If you are in need of support, do not hesitate to reach out, and try taking a look at Facebook's Online Well-being pages for suggestions about how you can get help for yourself or someone you know.

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