Facebook To Help Prevent Suicides In India | TechTree.com

Facebook To Help Prevent Suicides In India

Facebook partners with mental health experts to launch new suicide prevention tools and resources in India.


With an entire generation addicted to posting their thoughts and emotions on Facebook, we all have a sneak peak into each others lives and thoughts. Apart from the very annoying posts such as “like in 5 minutes or 5 years of bad luck”, we have all at some point come across posts on our friends wall that are emotional and disturbing. Some of us scroll down immediately without a second glance assuming that they are just seeking attention. But the stark truth is that, these posts are their way of communicating something more deeper and critical then we have ever imagined. We are conditioned to believe that suicide is cowardice and we only pity the deceased. Never have we empathized with them.

Through all the turbulent times, despite the brave fight, at some point or the other we have all thought of suicide. Those who are struggling emotionally and psychologically need an outlet to express them, but the fear of being ridiculed weighs heavily on them. People with suicidal thoughts tend to communicate their desperation and helplessness online. Haven’t we all been a part of funerals where hypocritical voices would murmur,  “Seemed so happy, why would he do this? If only we knew…”

Realising the urgency to tackle the issue, Facebook has introduced updated tools and educational resources to help support people in India who may be struggling with self-injury or may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.

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. Facebook has rolled out the update in India collaborating with local partners (AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation) in English and Hindi.

The next time if you view a friend’s post that is disturbing, with the help of these new tools, you can reach out to them directly and can also report the post.

Vulnerable users will then be encouraged to connect to the AASRA India helpline or the Live Love Laugh Foundation or a friend, or to seek self-help advice from resources and tips provided on how they can work through these feelings. All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners.

Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook India, South and Central Asia, said, “Often, friends and family who are the observers in these types of situations don't know what to do. They're concerned, but they're worried about saying the wrong thing or somehow making it worse. Socially, mental illness and thoughts about suicide are just not something we talk about. Facebook is a place where people connect and share, and one of the things we have learnt from the mental health partners and academics we have worked with on this issue, is that being connected is a protective factor in suicide prevention. We care deeply about the safety and well-being of the 148 million people in India who use Facebook to connect with the people who matter to them and recognise there's an opportunity with these tools and resources to connect someone who is struggling with a person they already have a relationship with.”

Deepika Padukone, Founder of The Live Love Laugh Foundation said, "The Live Love Laugh Foundation is committed to reducing stigma and creating awareness around mental health in India. Suicide is a complex issue but the causal relationship between mental health and suicide is well established. The rate of suicide amongst the youth in India is one of the highest in the world. We are happy to partner with Facebook in this suicide prevention initiative. It is especially important to reach out to young people out there who are feeling depressed and encourage them to reach out for help. Society as a whole needs to be educated about this so that we are sensitized to signs of depression in our friends, neighbours and relatives and can guide them towards expert assistance"

Johnson Thomas, Director, AASRA said,“AASRA has been working with Facebook for several years to help people who are having suicidal thoughts. Facebook's new tool is another step forward in helping to prevent suicide. We hope that by providing critical resources for people who may be thinking about suicide or self-injury and their concerned friends and family members will help those in need take the first step towards rekindling hope and seeking help at a time when everything seems hopeless and bleak.”

TAGS: Facebook, Facebook India, Facebook Messenger