Facebook suicide prevention tool getting mixed reaction - FOX Carolina 21

Facebook suicide prevention tool getting mixed reaction

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Facebook is adding a new suicide prevention tool that would allow users to report any suicidal posts that hint at self-harm.

The new feature is set to roll out in the next few months, but it has drawn mixed reactions from users and mental health professionals alike. Users who see friends posting troubling status updates can report them to the social network, and Facebook will reach out to that person offering them resources for help.

"To have a intervention or one way of intervention, it's possible that you might be able to help people," said Greenville resident Jenny Weathers.

"It feels a little weird," said Fray Forde. "It's a little overbearing."

Dr. Roger Rhoades, a psychologist in Spartanburg, agrees.

"It'll seem cool until somebody hurts themselves, when somebody does, it will be the end of it," adding he believes the tool will pose tremendous liability risks for the site. He also said it is troubling to see a company like Facebook infringe on the confidentiality inherent in behavioral health issues.

"The whole industry is set up around confidentiality and to build a relationship, and not to make it technical."

In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook developers said, "If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that t hey contact their local emergency services immediately ... We also ask them to report any troubling content to us."

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