Facebook’s Suicide Prevention Feature
Mattapoisett teen, Conrad Roy, committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning last July. Roy had a history of mental illness, and was found in his car behind the Fairhaven K-Mart. That local story is now circulating nationwide due to the fact that strange texts were discovered between Roy and Plainville teen, Michelle Carter. On the day of Roy's suicide, Carter messaged him, allegedly coercing him to take his own life. However, Carter wrote a letter to Roy's mother less than two weeks later. She scribed, "...There was nothing anyone could do to save him no matter how hard they tried. I never tried harder at something in my life." Carter has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and awaits pretrial in April.
I bring this up because of Facebook's latest endeavor: Creating a feature to prevent suicide by "monitoring" posts and allowing others to flag suspicious comments. Imagine scrolling through your newsfeed one day, when a post catches your eye. It's dark, lonely, and filled with despair. You fear they may harm themselves, so you decide to take action:
1. Click the little arrow at the top right of the post and click "Report Post."
2. Either contact the friend who made the post, contact another friend for support or contact a suicide helpline. These options are all listed for you.
3. Facebook will then look at the post. If they feel like the post indicates distress, they will contact the person directly. This pop-up will show up on their screen the next time they log in:
Currently, only half of U.S. Facebook users have access to this feature, but the rest will be able to use it in a few months. Until then, helplines are available to you, and we strongly suggest you make use of them if necessary. Locally, we have the "Samaritans of Bristol County."
"The Samaritans' mission is to be available for those who are lonely and depressed or in danger of taking their life. Samaritans listen without judgment or prejudice, and assure callers confidentiality and anonymity. Samaritans is a certified crisis agency with CONTACT USA and an active member with The American Association of Suicidology and AFSP. The agency networks with the following: National TALK LINE 1-800-293-8255 and 1-800-SUICIDE and Mass Coalition of Samaritan Branches 1-877-870-4673."
While I wish that you never have a reason to use this information, I hope you will take note and someday save a life if it comes down to it. May we never see another teen in the news for taking his or her own life. God blessed us with the hearts in our chests and the air in our lungs. Let Him be the one to take us home.