Thursday, May 10, 2012

Facebook Launches Tool for Military Service Members Combating Depression and Suicide

A new Facebook feature provides military personnel, veterans and their families with military specific resources when a post is identified as harmful or suicidal.

A report published in Injury Prevention shows that suicide rates among U.S. Army personnel increased 80 percent between 2004 and 2008. Out of the 255 soldiers who died by suicide between 2007 to 2008, 17 percent of the soldiers had previously been diagnosed with a mental health problem. Fifty percent had visited a health professional for a mental issue.

Facebook currently serves 86% of military families. Using the social media network as a means to prevent suicide could be a huge benefit for many military members and their families. Just this week Facebook in partnership with Blue Star Families and the Department of Veterans Affairs launched another tool to help those in need. This time for military service members, veterans and families combating depression and suicide.

The new tool is an extension of the suicide prevention program Facebook launched in December 2011 which allows other Facebook members to alert the network when suicidal thoughts are expressed by clicking a link next to that persons comment. When the link is clicked Facebook sends an email to the user with suicide prevention resources.

However, this new tool is designed specifically for the needs of military service members and their families. According to Blue Star Families:
“While this is helpful for a military family, there are several specific resources provided to our nation’s military that we wanted to make sure they were aware of at their time of need.”
The new tool provides military specific resources such as the Veterans Crisis Line. What do you think about the new Facebook tool? Please share your thoughts below.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent suicide in your community attend the Bridging the Divide Summit on May 18. Click here for more information.

Need to talk? Call 1-800-273-TALK or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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