As you may very well know, life is not a fairy-tale dotted with rainbows and butterflies and less so on Facebook, the biggest social network connecting some 1.65 billion odd human souls. With every wannabe micro-blogger on the loose posting whatever random thought crosses their mind, 5 times a minute, it can frankly get overwhelming trying to keep up with the hullabaloo. At times we might feel an urge to impress our friends by posting profound words of wisdom, or upload that perfect selfie or broadcast to everybody how happy and satisfying our lives are. When in truth, we do not fit in with the social crowd which makes us feel lonely, depressed and often times suicidal. This has prompted Facebook to roll out suicide prevention tools for when you think a suicide is imminent.
Today we’re updating the resources we offer to people around the world who may be experiencing self-injury or suicidal thoughts, as well as the support we offer to their concerned friends and family members.Advertisement - Continue reading below
Developed in collaboration with mental health organizations and with input from people who have personal experience with self-injury and suicide, these tools first launched in the US with the help of Forefront, Lifeline, and Save.org.
Today, we are rolling them out around the world in collaboration with local partners and in all languages Facebook is available in. ~Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety and Jennifer Guadagno, Researcher
The very nature of social media encourages spontaneity and this is a good thing in some incidences. We will post our unfiltered feelings on Facebook giving our friends an inkling as to our mental state. Some friends will post such dark thoughts which often times are a cry for help and a Like will not help them feel any better. Getting proactive on Facebook now might save the life of a friend going through a rough patch and the first step you can take is contact your friend directly. Starting a conversation could be what your friend needs to talk them out of committing suicide but if the situation requires professional help, you can notify Facebook and this is how:
How to Notify Facebook of a Suicidal Friend
- Head over to Facebook Safety Tools & Resources
- Enter your friend’s full name (As it appears on Facebook)
- Add a link (URL) to your friend’s profile
- Provide a link to the content that alerted you to an imminent suicide. Facebook advises doing the following:
- Find the content (photo, video, comment, etc) you want to report
- If this content is on someone’s Timeline, click on the date/time it was posted (ex: 27 minutes, May 30 at 7:30pm)
- Copy the URL from your browser’s address bar
Facebook has collaborated with mental health organisations worldwide to provide this service. Teams from Facebook around the world work 24/7 to review the reports as they come in, prioritising the most serious ones such as self-injury. Facebook will send the friend you’re concerned about resources which include reaching out to a friend, contacting a helpline or seeing tips.
Here’s a list of Worldwide Suicide Helplines. In East Africa, we could only find Kenya on the list but a little digging landed us on the Uganda Helpline as well. We unfortunately couldn’t find information about other East African countries.
- Befrienders Kenya
- https://www.befrienderskenya.org (chat support)
- Call or text +254 722178177 (from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM)
- Call or text +254 736542304 (from 7: 00 AM to 9:00 PM)