Social Media & Suicide Prevention

Last year I wrote about an update to Facebook and Instagram that was aimed to help connect people who were suicidal to professionals at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Now, a little over a year later, Facebook has taken this a step further and stated that they’ll use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to flag posts that could be concerning and connect those to a human who can then contact mental health professionals and local responders.

“This is about shaving off minutes at every single step of the process, especially in Facebook Live,” says VP of product management Guy Rosen. Over the past month of testing, Facebook has initiated more than 100 “wellness checks” with first-responders visiting affected users. “There have been cases where the first-responder has arrived and the person is still broadcasting.” – TechCrunch

This update comes at a time when there are over 2 billion monthly Facebook users, nearly 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day and 200 million people check Instagram on a daily basis. Whether you think social media is the greatest thing in the world or you can’t stand it, the truth is that most people in the world use at least one form of social media and this update is a step in the right direction for suicide prevention.