Each week I think, “There must be something to write about suicide prevention that doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook.”
But, I’m shown time and time again that the social network is so ubiquitous that it’s virtually impossible to minimize its influence.
Last week, Facebook announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Blue Star Families to offer a suicide prevention service specifically for active-duty military, veterans, and their families.
What’s good about this new service?
- It’s grounded in research. Blue Star Families advocated for this service after surveying military families. What did they find? The majority of family members who recognized signs of post-traumatic stress disorder in their loved ones did not seek help. And, both members of the military and their families have considered suicide.
- It maximizes existing resources, rather than duplicating services. The partnership will connect existing resources for military and their families, such as the Veterans Crisis Line, creating a one-stop-shop via Facebook.
- It meets people where they are already spending time. My friends who are service members or partners of service members use Facebook to connect with their loved ones and fellow military families. It is described as a “lifeline” by some military family members.
What will I be looking for as this service launches?