Starting on World Suicide Prevention Day, we'll connect people in India with information about supportive groups and suicide prevention tools in News Feed. We are also launching a new section of our Safety Center with additional resources about suicide prevention and online wellbeing. [LINK: facebook.com/safety/wellbeing] People can access tools to resolve conflict online, help a friend who is expressing suicidal thoughts or get resources if they're going through a difficult time. We've offered tools like these, developed in collaboration with mental health organizations, for more than ten years. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.
In India, we work with several safety and suicide prevention partners, including AASRA, iCALL and Sumaitri, and last year we introduced a Help A Friend in Need Guide, available in 11 South Asian languages, to provide more resources, advice and support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their concerned friends and family members in India with The Live Love Laugh Foundation. Our Safety Center also offers guidance for parents, teens, educators, and law enforcement officials to start a conversation about online safety, with localised resources and videos available.
Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy, India, South and Central Asia, said “Socially, mental illness and thoughts about suicide are just not something we talk about. Often, friends and family who are the observers in these types of situations don't know what to do. They're concerned, but they're worried about saying the wrong thing or somehow making it worse. Facebook is a place where people connect and share, and one of the things we have learnt from the mental health partners and academics we have worked with on this issue, is that being connected is a protective factor in suicide prevention. We care deeply about the safety and millions of people in India who use Facebook to connect with the people who matter to them, and recognise there's an opportunity with these tools and resources to connect someone who is struggling with a person they already have a relationship with.”
Because of the relationships people have on Facebook, we are in a unique position to help connect those in distress with friends who can show support. Mental health experts say these connections can be helpful in preventing suicide, and we see it happen in a variety of ways.
People's friends are in the best position to know when they're struggling – and speed is critical – so they can reach out directly through things like comments on a post. As we recently shared, there are cases where the combination of technology — recognizing patterns in people's comments on posts — and the compassion of people in our community can help prevent harm.
People can also reach out to Facebook when they see something that makes them concerned about a friend's well-being. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritize the most serious reports like suicide.
For those who reach out to us, we provide suggested text to make it easier for people to start a conversation with their friend in need. We provide the friend who has expressed suicidal thoughts information about local help lines, along with other tips and resources.
We take other steps, such as working with suicide prevention partners to collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide. We offer resources to people that search for these terms on Facebook. We also remove content that violates our Community Standards, which don't allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide.
With the help of our partners and people's friends and family on Facebook, we hope we can continue to support those in need.