New Facebook tools to help people at risk of self-harm could soon come to
Hong Kong University Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention director Paul Yip said he had been in discussions with Facebook to bring the service to the city.
“We have talked to Facebook before. They said they’re going to launch it in
The city has a higher suicide rate than
Under the new system, if a relative or friend were concerned about a user’s post, they could report it to Facebook where it would then be checked by a 24-hour team.
Serious posts in which a person threatened self-harm or suicide would be prioritised, according to Facebook, with the users being sent resources to help them through notifications.
Yip said the new tools were useful in helping to prevent suicide, particularly among younger people who frequently used social media.
“I think it would not be a substitute for everything but certainly it would supplement or complement [other suicide prevention tools],” he said.
Although he didn’t know when Facebook would be rolling out the tools locally, Yip said the city was “on their radar”. “They’re just not sure when they’re going to roll it out yet,” he said.
Yip said he and the centre had worked with Facebook to analyse the statuses of suicide victims to determine key words or sentiments common to people at risk.
Zareen Chiba, a medical student at the
“I think the new Facebook tools may help in providing an option for action, but cannot ensure that the person suffering will take action. I believe Mental Health First Aid which was pioneered in
A suicide prevention group responded to a
A spokeswoman for Facebook Asia Pacific said the company had nothing to share on its possible local efforts at this point.
“As outlined in the launch blog post, we are working to improve our tools for those outside the