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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Facebook launches suicide prevention tools in India in collaboration with local partners AASRA & Live Love Laugh Foundation

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Facebook launches suicide prevention tools in India

| ET Bureau | 
Facebook launches suicide prevention tools in India

NEW DELHI: Facebook on Tuesday said it has introduced updated tools and educational resources to help support people in India who may be struggling with self-injury or experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The tools and resources will let a user either directly reach out to a person posting something on Facebook that causes concern about their well-being, or report the post to Facebook. "We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in. They prioritize the most serious reports like self-injury and send help and resources to those in distress," said Facebook in a statement.

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Facebook has launched these updated tools in India in collaboration with local partners AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation.

"Socially, mental illness and thoughts about suicide are just not something we talk about. Facebook is a place where people connect and share, and one of the things we have learnt from the mental health partners and academics we have worked with on this issue, is that being connected is a protective factor in suicide prevention," said Ankhi Das, public policy director, India.

"We care deeply about the safety and well-being of the 148 million people in India who use Facebook to connect with the people who matter to them and recognise there's an opportunity with these tools and resources to connect someone who is struggling with a person they already have a relationship with," she added.

Film actress Deepika Padukone, the founder of the The Live Love Laugh Foundation added that the foundation wants to reduce stigma and create awareness around mental health in India. "Suicide is a complex issue but the causal relationship between mental health and suicide is well established.The rate of suicide amongst the youth in India is one of the highest in the world.We are happy to partner with Facebook in this suicide prevention initiative," she said in a statement.

The Live Love Laugh Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the issue of mental health in India.

"AASRA has been working with Facebook for several years to help people who are having suicidal thoughts. Facebook's new tool is another step forward in helping to prevent suicide," said Johnson Thomas, Director, AASRA.

AASRA is a charity that provides anonymous and confidential professional counselling to people in India.

Suicide is a big problem in India, with 1,31,666 people having committed suicide in the country in 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data,. To put that in perspective, NCRB said 15 suicides took place every one hour during the same year. The report found that cities had an overall higher suicide rate than the rest of the country. Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi city and Mumbai together accounted for almost 37% of the total suicides in these cities.

The Indian launch by Facebook follows a similar launch in the United States. The resources will be available in English and Hindi, Facebook said

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