A new mobile phone app and a new service/button on Facebook are trying to help the suicide prevention cause. The smartphone app, specifically geared toward soldiers and military vets, is called Guard Your Buddy, and it's being released by the Tennessee National Guard in conjunction with the 375th anniversary of the National Guard. On Facebook, they're adding a feature whereby when a friend spots a suicidal status update or comment, they can click a link next to the comment that immediately puts the person in touch with a suicide prevention hotline via Facebook chat. (For the record, we still cannot find this feature on the site, but it's supposed to launch today.)
Though Facebook does not make a habit of trolling for suicidal thoughts themselves, they believe friends are the best lifelines, and it's been said that suicidal thoughts can decrease substantially if intervention happens quickly. Suicide experts believe that instant messaging may even be better than phone hotlines, because the suicidal tend not to want to pick up the phone. Makes sense.