Jan 23
January 23, 2014

Facebook's Commitment to Provide Mental Health Resources


Going to college is a proud moment and big milestone for many young adults. But it can be tough managing new academic and social pressures, all while adjusting to a new environment. Worse, students can face serious challenges to their emotional health and well-being.  For example, one of out every four young adults experiences an episode of depression before the age of 24, and nearly one-third of college students report an episode of feeling so sad or depressed in the past year that they have trouble functioning.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with The Jed Foundation and the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative to create Help A Friend In Need – a community guide to help people identify when a friend is in distress and address the risk of suicide on college campuses.

At Facebook, we work hard to make sure that people can connect with the people and resources they need, particularly during stressful times. Facebook users can report suicidal content in a post by clicking on the post’s upper-right corner and following the prompts.  Our team personally reviews these reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides people in need with resources in their local language from one of our 33 global suicide prevention partners.  To learn more about suicide prevention on Facebook, please check out my previous blog post.

We created Help A Friend In Need because we want to make sure that friends and family have the resources – both on and off line – to help identify when someone is distressed and know what steps to take, particularly in extreme cases where someone’s life might be in danger.

Research indicates that having positive connections is an important factor in preventing suicide, and we strongly support efforts aimed at stopping the approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide each year. 

The guide is available at Facebook’s Family Safety Center and will be featured in new ads on Facebook geared toward college students. The guide will also be distributed directly to over 1,600 college health centers. 

"Social media sites such as Facebook are an increasingly important component of how college students interact with the world,” note Dr. Paul Grayson, Director of Counseling and Wellness Center at Marymount Manhattan College, and Dr. Phil Meilman, Director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services at Georgetown University, editors of the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. “It's great that Facebook, The Jed Foundation, and the Clinton Foundation have joined together to educate Facebook users on how to identify warning signs of a mental health issue. This will no doubt help support millions of young people around the world."

Please take a minute to read and share Help A Friend In Need.