Facebook provides free counseling to bullying victims and others
Using it’s awesome presence in the life of teenagers worldwide, Facebook announced a program to help victims of online abuse and others contemplating suicide. Starting in December, 2011, users can access help from a crisis counselor 24 hours a day. The program depends on friends of despondent youth to notify Facebook by instant message about content that concerns them. The program can also be used to report offenders.
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. More than 800 million people worldwide are active users of the service, including an estimated 45 percent of United States citizens.
“One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible,” Facebook told the Associated Press. If a user is being bullied or sees that a friend has thoughts of suicide, the comment can be flagged. Facebook then sends an email to the person who posted the message. The email includes the hot line to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 and a link to a confidential chat with a trained counselor.
The goal is to make Facebook a safer place for all users. Statistics show that quick intervention is effective when working with someone contemplating suicide. The temptation to end the pain of bullying by ending one’s life can be lessened if someone trustworthy intervenes.
You can read more about the new service in the San Diego LGBT Weekly.