Facebook Chat for Suicidal People? The Question of the Week

Merely Me Health Guide
  • My dear friend Lene Andersen from our RA site just sent me a link to a news story about how facebook is launching a chat service to prevent suicide.


    I find this news especially interesting in light of the fact that so much bullying does occur through social network sites.  The case of Megan Meier comes to mind, a young teen who committed suicide due to cyber-bullying on MySpace. 


    In 2010 another teen named Phoebe Prince was bullied and tormented on Facebook and hung herself.


    In 2011 a 16-year old girl attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge.  In this case she survived.  The cause of her attempt?  Facebook bullying.

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    In yet another story a teen-age girl was harassed by peers on facebook before her suicide and after.  It seems some bullies like to keep sending hateful messages on a memorial site even after the person has died.


    Fed up with bullying which can be so prominent on facebook and other social networking sites, the father of Thomas Mullaney, a teen boy who took his own life due to facebook threats and bullying, wants legislation saying cyber bullying is an illegal act.


    If you look up suicide and facebook you will find a lot of horrific stories of teens who are threatened and bullied on this social network or others before they commit suicide. 


    In response Facebook has announced today that they have developed a partnership between The National Suicide Prevention Line.


    According to news reports here is how the chat service works:


    "...if a friend spots a suicidal thought on someone's page, he can report it to Facebook by clicking a link next to the comment. Facebook then sends an email to the person who posted the suicidal comment encouraging them to call the hotline or click on a link to begin a confidential chat." 


    Crisis hotlines such as Lifeline have been criticized in the past for calling the police without the caller knowing.


    Add to this...


    Facebook hasn't exactly been perceived as a site which respects member's privacy. 


    Here is Facebook's National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


    In addition Facebook also has the The Bully Suicide Project.


    So what do you think?  Would you use facebook chat if you were feeling suicidal?  Do you think Facebook is doing enough to combat the cyber-bullying which is rampant on their site and other social networking sites? 


    Thoughts?  We want to hear them!

Published On: December 13, 2011