Facebook Launches Suicide Prevention Tool for Military Families
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
May 09 2012 10:00 AM ET
CREDIT: Shutterstock: Straight 8 Photography
Facebook today (May 9) announced a partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to help prevent suicide among members of the U.S. military, their families and veterans. The program is an extension of Facebook's suicide prevention initiative available to all members.
Social media may play an even bigger role in the lives of military families who are often separated for months at a time than it does for other Facebook members. According to nonprofit organization Blue Star Families' annual "Military Lifestyle 2012" survey, 86 percent of families with a member in the military use Facebook at least once a day.
Blue Star's survey also revealed that 9 percent of active duty members have considered suicide and 10 percent of military family members have done so.
Based on these findings, the Facebook engineering team worked on a customized solution to identify military families and military personnel. Those in the military, along with family members, will now be able to receive counseling information and access to the Veterans Crisis Line, a program run by the VA. Support is offered via phone, online chat or text messaging.
To report a troubling post by a friend or family member connected to the military, fill out the form available in Facebook's Suicide Help Center with the person's name and Facebook URL. Once Facebook verifies the report, the person will receive information to connect to a crisis line counselor — the Veterans Crisis Line for members of the military, veterans and their families or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for nonmilitary members.