NEW YORK, N.Y. ― At the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we are proud of our ongoing relationship with Facebook and our long collaboration to provide innovative suicide prevention resources and support to their digital community.
Today’s announcement of Facebook’s latest efforts to expand their tools to help individuals in crisis and their loved ones is the next step in this dedicated work, and the Lifeline, and the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), which administers the Lifeline, are excited to embark on this step with them. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Improved reporting integration with Facebook Live, pattern recognition in reporting, and the launch of crisis support services through Facebook Messenger, expand Facebook’s innovations in digital suicide prevention. These innovations allow people to reach out for and access support more easily.
MHA-NYC and the SAMHSA-supported National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are working closely with Facebook in streamlining and updating of their reporting tools.
We’re also pleased to work with Facebook, Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorders Association, and Zendesk to provide crisis support over Facebook Messenger for people who have been reported as suicidal on Facebook. The Lifeline is also planning a SAMHSA-funded limited pilot program to evaluate the practical application of Facebook Messenger in helping people in crisis.
“By piloting this program through our world-class contact center in New York City, our findings can be applied to best practices that are used throughout the Lifeline’s national network, as well as shared with our partners at Facebook and in the field,” Kimberly Williams, President of MHA-NYC said.
The Lifeline has long shared the message that everyone can be active in suicide prevention, and that we can all be the one to help someone in crisis. Very often, loved ones are in the best position to know if a person is struggling. Friends and family are trusted by individuals in crisis and can be in the best position to help them. Research shows that the best way to prevent suicide is to strengthen a person’s social connections. Facebook’s global mission to enhance social connection places them in an extraordinary position to help prevent suicide.
“It’s important that community members, whether they’re online or offline, don’t feel that they are helpless bystanders when dangerous behavior is occurring,” said Dr. John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “Facebook’s approach is unique. Their tools enable their community members to actively care, provide support, and report concerns when necessary.”
Facebook’s latest tools are designed to empower individual community members to support each other, utilizing the unique role of family and friends as key supports for those in crisis. In addition, these new tools allow individuals in crisis or their concerned loved ones to get help for themselves immediately, while offering more ways for those individuals to receive help when and how they need it.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and MHA-NYC have worked with Facebook for nearly a decade to pioneer and continuously improve upon support and safety for communities both on- and offline. We look forward to building on this work together, refining and growing these and other tools to serve the public, and promoting suicide prevention around the world.
About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 150 local crisis centers, uniting local resources with national standards and best practices. Funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by the Mental Health Association of New York City, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. Since its inception in 2005, the Lifeline has engaged in innovative public messaging, development of best practices in mental health, cutting-edge partnerships, and more to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for all. suicidepreventionlifeline.org
About the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC)
The Mental Health Association of New York City is a non-profit organization with local roots and national reach. For over 50 years, MHA-NYC has been leading the way in mental health through our three-part mission of service, advocacy and education. Our mission is to identify unmet needs and develop culturally sensitive programs to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness while promoting the importance of mental health. We break down barriers by providing care directly to those who need it, utilizing state-of-the-art telephone, text and web-based technologies to respond to community needs where and when that help is needed. We work every single day to save lives and assist those in crisis while providing millions more with the help they need before a crisis can occur. www.mhaofnyc.org