Facebook Is Actually Working To Prevent Suicide, Social Media Isn't Just For Likes And Comments

Facebook Is Actually Working To Prevent Suicide, Social Media Isn't Just For Likes And Comments

Artificial intelligence is saving lives while we scroll.

As individuals grow more and more dependent on social media as a form of self-expression and catharsis, new concerns continue to arise surrounding the kind of material people are putting online. One area of growing concern is content related to mental health crises.

As of 2017, Facebook has implemented a new system that automatically identifies and flags posts that express suicidal thoughts. Once posts are flagged, content reviewers are alerted and analyze the posts in question.

This is a step up from the system Facebook previously had in place: users could report alarming content to Facebook employees who would evaluate it and decide whether a person should be offered support from a suicide prevention hotline or, in extreme cases, have Facebook's law enforcement response team intervene.

Facebook's new system is pioneering the many ways artificial intelligence can be used to save lives online. Posts that express suicidal ideation are automatically flagged and sent to the company's review board.

There are currently over 7,500 staff members reviewing cases like these. The company educates its staff by reaching out to experts in the field of suicide prevention like Dan Reidenberg, executive director of SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education,) who started out by distributing a list of phrases commonly used by individuals at risk of suicide.

The technology itself is widely impressive. In one example, the company details how posts like "If I hear this song one more time, I'm going to kill myself," won't be flagged, but posts that involve the subtleties of suicidal thought will be.

In the month of November alone, over 100 wellness checks were administered by first responders based on the new system. As of 2018, Facebook says that the revamped program is flagging 20 times more cases of suicidal thought than before, with twice as many individuals receiving suicide prevention support materials through the platform.

As the reach of social media gets wider and wider, there are growing opportunities for both harm and help available to the masses that utilize these platforms on a daily basis. With numbers of lives in the hundreds being saved by the quick detection of artificial intelligence, it's safe to say that smart technology paired with a finger on the pulse of a growing global health crisis has potential we all deserve to see.

Cover Image Credit: Every Pixel

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It's Time To Murder The Act Of Suicide In Our Nation


My heart is numb. Over people, I barely even knew. Over the people that are no longer living in the same world as us. Over the people that decided our world is too much for them to handle anymore. Over the people who took their own lives.

America is hearing more and more about suicide every day. Unfortunately, we hear more about people taking their own lives as opposed to spreading ideas of prevention and awareness. Enough is enough. We need to do something to stop the rising rates of suicide in our country and help those who are fighting depression before it is too late.

When I found out my childhood friend chose to leave our world, my heart shattered. I barely spoke to her, yet I found my grief reaching unbearable heights. Her passing affected everyone she's ever spoken to or encountered in her life. I realized that when people die, many others express the love they have for that person and showcase the beauties they've developed inside and out before their final days.

I realize that this is all apart of the grieving process, but I question how often do we actually show this love before their final breaths? We need to do a better job of expressing love in our world. We need to do a better job of highlighting the beauties of each and every person, and of life itself. We need to do a better job of making sure we love everyone around us since we never know who might be suffering.

The happiest people you see in your life may cry every night behind closed doors.

I also believe that schools need to do a better job of educating us about suicide prevention and how to detect any behaviors that might lead to a person committing the irreversible act that no person would wish upon their greatest enemies.

According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death among teens. Did you know that for every one person that committed suicide, there are 25 other people that attempted to commit too? Do you know the signs a person shows when they're about to leave us forever?

These are all facts I learned after my childhood friend left our world. Frankly, I think that I should have been thoroughly educated in this way earlier in my life.

Most high schools require that we take one, single semester of health throughout our four years. In that health class, we touch on suicide for only a day or two. Is that really enough? Would it really hurt to educate students more on suicide prevention if it meant saving a life?

In school, we spend more time learning about trigonometric functions and mitosis than we do about preventing things that are so prominent in the lives of teens today. There is a problem with that.

We learn that suicide is irreversible and we always hear that the bad things are temporary. But, how much does everyone truly know about how the people fighting with extreme stress and depression feel?

The stigma around suicide makes the number of reports lower than they're supposed to be. But those numbers are already high enough. Nobody deserves to feel that their life is no longer worth living. We need to start making our world beautiful again to show them that they are so important.

We can't reverse the act of the ones that are no longer with us. But we can prevent others from choosing to go to another world.

Be the person to reach out to those who are struggling and be their lifesaver. Take the time to express your love and compassion to everyone the way the Lord once did. Please, I beg of you, do your part in ending suicide.

Cover Image Credit: Josh Felise

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My Journey Through Self-Harm

I wanted to share my battle with everyone so that I could be an encouragement to those around me.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to make light of very serious issues and diseases, and in no way am I glorifying them. I just simply want to share my experiences.

Trigger Warning: Those suffering from any behavior of self-harm may be negatively affected by the content of this article.

I was in the fifth grade the first time I ever harmed myself on purpose. I don’t know how the trend started, but everyone in the three fifth grade classes that year had discovered an idiotic act that of course, you had to participate in to be cool. The trend included taking an eraser on the end of a pencil and rubbing it against a part of your skin, hard and fast, giving yourself a burn.

To this day, I have the little scar on the back of my left hand from the day I sat in P.E. with my pencil and decided I was going to show my peers that I could be cool too.

I had no idea that this mindless act would turn into a painful addiction not even three years later.

In the seventh grade, I started a new school – a private, Christian school. I met my best friend that year. I noticed that there was something very different about her and the relationship that we held together. We were inseparable, to an extreme extent. The first time we changed in front of each other, I noticed something very odd. My best friend had pale scars covering the tops of her thighs. I can honestly say that I was taken aback; I had never seen anything like it before. When I asked her about them, she explained to me the depths of her depression and anxiety disorders and how the scars helped her feel alive. I was confused, worried, and sad for my best friend.

Maybe I wanted to feel some of her pain, or maybe I was just plain curious. In the seventh grade, I took apart my first pencil sharpener to reveal the little blade inside. I ran it across my thigh to reveal flesh and blood. I had never made myself bleed before, but I wasn’t scared or anxious. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at the sense of power and release of stress it gave me. This act continued on for years, and time only made it grow more detrimental.

My parents blame my habit on what happened to me as a child. I wouldn’t say I had a particularly devastating childhood though because I’m fully aware that others have it much worse. When I was around 8, one of my dad’s best friends began to molest me. I was scared, but he would continue to tell me that it was okay, he was doing these things because he loved me. And I believed him. My home is broken, and my father now lives nine hours from me. It was only within the past two years that I gained the courage to tell my parents about the years of abuse. Within these past two years, my sick obsession reached its peak.

One or two cuts from a silly sharpener blade weren’t good enough anymore. I began to use scissors and my dad’s military-grade knives. I would go to the store and buy the double-sided blades – the ones you see in movies all the time. I would lay in my bathtub and slice away at myself, hoping that some of the pain and stress would go flow down the drain. I began to binge drink, and my friends would have to peel me away from the bloody mess I’d left myself in.

In November of last year, I tried to kill myself for the first time. I drew myself a hot bath with a bottle of wine and my favorite book. I sunk into my ceramic tomb and began cutting my wrists in every which way. As I laid there, my phone began to ring. From nine hours away, my dad sensed something was wrong and saved my life.

I have gone to therapy, counseling, and am on my own path to recovery. Every day I see my scars and tear myself down, telling myself that I am hideous and should have died in that tub. But then I remember to pick myself back up and carry on.

You must look past the stressors of everyday life and find something to live for. Live for yourself, because you are worth every breath that you take.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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