Facebook for Military

Facebook which is a pioneer in social media in recent times has launched yet another initiative for people in the military. With the launch of the new Facebook program military service members, veterans and their families are provided with customized resources when their content is flagged as harmful or suicidal.

Facebook provides the military personnel with crisis tools through this program which is an extension of the suicide prevention effort that Facebook had launched in December. Through this effort it lets the friends alert the social network when other users express any signs of suicidal thoughts and tendencies by clicking a link next to the comment after which Facebook sends the author of the comment an email with suicide prevention resources. The military support organization Blue Star Families along with Department of Veteran Affairs which partnered with Facebook in this effort wrote in a statement, “While this is helpful for a military family, there are several specific resources provided to our nation’s military that we wanted to make sure they were aware of at their time of need”. The Facebook engineers have developed a way of identifying the military personnel and their families and it will send them military specific resources like The Veterans Crisis Line when their content is flagged.

In a survey conducted by the Blue Star Families of 2,891 military family members about 10% said they had considered suicide while 9% said they knew a service member who thought about committing suicide. When they were asked about what the military leaders should do regarding this, the most common response (23%) was that there was a need to eradicate the stigma associated with seeking mental health support and counseling. the authors of the study wrote, “Indeed, many comments mentioned leaders telling military members to ‘suck it up,’ or ‘soldier up”.  With about 86% of the military personnel and their families on Facebook claiming to use the service on a daily basis, it makes sense for the social media giant to serve as a private-referrer to military-focused suicide prevention resources.

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