Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years old and, although older adults only make up 13 percent of the population, they comprise 16 percent of all suicides. Approximately 987,950 Americans attempt suicide each year. Furthermore, an estimated five million Americans are survivors of a friend, family member, or loved one’s suicide.
Recently, Facebook, the world’s largest social media outlet, launched a new suicide prevention feature which will allow users to report suicidal or worrisome posts with the click of a button. When a user sees a post that suggests that the individual who wrote the post may be suicidal, he or she can flag the post to be reviewed by a Facebook administrator, who will then contact the individual directly if he or she determines there is reason for concern. Next time the original poster logs in, he or she will be prompted with a message indicating that someone is concerned about him or her and will encourage him or her to contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, call a friend, or to seek self-help advice from online resources from mental health organizations. Additionally, the concerned friend will be provided with resources as well, including the option to message his or her friend in need, ask another Facebook friend for support, or, if he or she wishes, to be provided with the information for a suicide helpline that can be contacted for advice.
The idea behind this new Facebook feature is to be able to improve how they respond to threats of suicide and to be able to provide better information to those in need. Furthermore, by providing people with more ways to identify those who are in danger, we can all be more successful at preventing suicide. Suicide is a tragic act, but it can be prevented.
In addition to providing compassionate treatment needed to address the underlying reasons for why individuals are experiencing suicidal ideation, Mount Regis Center works hand-in-hand with The Jason Foundation, which is an organization dedicated to the prevention and awareness of youth suicide. Mount Regis Center features a Community Resource Center, whose mission is to educate communities on ways to recognize the early signs of suicidal ideation in youth. We teach parents helpful ways to intervene in order to get their children the help that they need and deserve.