LONDON - JULY 10: In this photo illustration a girl browses the social networking site Facebook on July 10, 2007 in London, England. Facebook has been rapidly catching up on MySpace as the premier social networking website and as of July 2007 was the secondmost visited such site on the World Wide Web. Started by 22-year-old Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, the website is responsible for 1% of all internet traffic and is the sixth most visited site in the USA. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Facebook has become an integral part of people's lives, so much so that many people decide to deliver their suicide notes via their status updates.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and other agencies noticed the disturbing trend and partnered with Facebook to create a "Report Suicidal Content" link for user to report friends or family members posting suicidal comments. The suicidal person then receives an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or click a link for a confidential chat with a live crisis worker.
"One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible," Fred Wolens, public policy manager at Facebook, told the Telegraph. “The only people who will have a really good idea of what's going on is your friends so we're encouraging them to speak up and giving them an easy and quick way to get help."
Last Saturday in Fort Wayne, Ind., a 19-year-old man posted, "Someone call 911. Three dead bodies at 3229 Lima Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana. I've killed Ryann, Erin, and myself." A Facebook friend called the Fort Wayne, Ind. police to report the status update and police later found three bodies, two ruled homicides and one a suicide.
A year ago, Rutgers student Tyler Clementi committed suicide by throwing himself into the Hudson River after posting, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry," on Facebook.
Because of incidents like these, a "Report Suicidal Content" link seems like a necessity.