After the story broke this week of 31-year old Claire Lin, a depressed woman from Taiwan who killed herself after posting about a suicide attempt on Facebook for over an hour, the higher-ups within the social media company say they are moving towards a more preventative approach to users who are suicidal.
Because we live in an society that is preoccupied with documenting every thought and idea online, Facebook has seen it’s fair share of depressed users; people tend to reach out via social media when thoughts of suicide begin to creep in, and those posts need to be taken seriously.
Facebook’s current method of handling such a fragile situation is allowing anyone to report someone they believe to be suicidal based on posts they make; Facebook then messages that person to ask if they need help. They also offer resources for speaking to a suicide counselor.
While this is a good approach to start, Facebook feels they need a better prevention method and have made a running start by partnering with specialists in the field, specifically targeting those who work with people who might be the most prone to depression, such as those in the LGBT community, bullied teens, and military veterans.
“We’re working with other internet companies at formulating a list of best practices, so that there’s an understanding and a consensus, along with experts in the suicide prevention community, for online properties dealing with this issue,” Frederic Wolens, a Facebook spokesman, said.