The Mental Health Foundation welcomes the launch of Facebook’s suicide prevention tools in New Zealand and encourages Kiwis to use these tools if they need to.
“Suicide prevention is a community effort,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “But some of us scroll past when we see social media posts that suggest a friend might be suicidal out of fear of saying the wrong thing or a misguided belief that these posts are simply attention-seeking.”
Posting about suicidal thoughts or feelings is a warning sign that someone may be at risk of suicide so it’s important to take the person seriously and do what you can to help.
“One of the best things about social media is the social connection it provides. Feeling connected to others, knowing they care and want to help can be really powerful to a person who feels alone and hopeless.
“It’s easy to say ‘if you see something, say something,’ but many of us don’t know what to say or how to help, and we’re sometimes worried about making things worse.”
When users report suicidal content, they are given a list of options to help their friend, such as reaching out directly to their friend with text suggested by Facebook to let the person know they are concerned and are available to help.
Facebook can also send distressed people the numbers and information for New Zealand helplines, connecting them with trained counsellors and volunteers who can help them to work through their feelings and support them to get further help if they need it.
The tool also sends users suggestions for simple and relaxing activities such as going for a walk, taking a bath or looking at the clouds – small self-care strategies that have been proven to help people when they’re in distress.
“Even if you choose to remain anonymous, it can really help a distressed person if they know someone cares enough to send help their way. You’re not reporting them – you’re supporting them. We believe these tools are a fantastic addition to the suicide prevention work New Zealand is already doing and will help to save lives,” Mr Robinson says.
More information about suicide prevention can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.nz/suicideprevention
For further information or comment, contact:
PR & Communications Specialist
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Ph: 09 623 4810 ext 811 or 021 740 454