Mental illness knows no cultural boundaries
Given my background in mental health, my boss correctly pinned me as an apt candidate for this story assignment. And truth be told, I’m thrilled to be covering it. Suicide poses a very real threat to people from all walks of life.
Mental illness knows no cultural boundaries. It has no age or gender preferences. I can’t count how many times I’ve scrolled through my Facebook feed and seen a dismal status from a loose acquaintance outlining how how they simply can’t take one more ounce of pressure.
Some of you might see posts like these as publicity stunts or bait for pity parties. But if you possess any lived experience regarding matters like self-harm, depression, or suicide, you know that even the faintest cry can still signal something worth investigating. Facebook has seriously stepped their game up when it comes to issues like this.
Facebook takes steps to help their users
Recently, Rob Boyle and Nicole Staubil of Facebook Safety came forward to discuss these problems and the measures they are taking to help get help to those in need. They urge users to report any content that is related to suicide or self-injury. From that point, Facebook has teams that work around the clock that review and catalogue these reports. The teams will then send information about resources and actual help to those who are troubled.
In addition to this, Facebook will also be offering similar help to the users who report these posts, providing them the opportunity to reach out and console or contact a trained professional themselves. Anyone who is involved or affected by these public suicidal thoughts or threats of self-harm will have the option to receive aid.
There are a few commendable things about this effort
First of all, Facebook is prioritizing user safety above all else. This is an aspect of social media that not all users consider, but should certainly be a concern of the company itself.In addition, Facebook has been working with Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org, and a handful of other mental health organizations. It is important that professionals and those with lived experience have been contributing to the development of these new Facebook tools.
In engaging in this process, Facebook has taken responsibility for the well being of its users. I feel both thankful for their care and impressed by their awareness. It’s nice to know that the big wigs aren’t too important to lend a helping hand.