Just one week after announcing its organ donor program Facebook is once again jumping into the “public good” sector with a new crisis tool meant to flag the profiles of military personnel when they post content deemed to be harmful or suicidal.
The new tool is an extension of the suicide prevention program Facebook launched in December 2011 which allows other Facebook members to alert then network when suicidal thoughts are expressed by clicking a link next to that persons comment. When the link is clicked Facebook sends an email to the user with suicide prevention resources.
According to military support organization Blue Star families:
“While this is helpful for a military family, there are several specific resources provided to our nation’s military that we wanted to make sure they were aware of at their time of need.”
The new program sends military specific resources such as the Veterans Crisis Line.
According to Blue Star Families in a survey of 2,891 military family members 10% said they considered suicide and 9% said they knew of military members who had contemplated suicide.
In many Facebook comments military members simply told their fellow soldiers to “suck it up” or “soldier up.”
Facebook currently serves 86% of military families which means using the network as a means to prevent suicide could be a huge benefit for many military members and their families.