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Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention

Forefront and Facebook launch suicide prevention tool
Compassion Research Day participants celebrate collaborations aimed at  using social media as a force for good. — Photo by Katie Simmons

As the world's biggest social network, with more than 1.39 billion users, Facebook is uniquely positioned to provide online resources and support to help people at risk for suicide. That's the goal of its new collaboration with Forefront to improve support for people expressing potentially suicidal thoughts and online friends who see and report those posts.

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Behavioral health and suicde prevention advocates met at Grace United Methodist Church for Forefront's Advocacy Skills Workshop. (Photo by Sarah Rothman)

Nearly 50 champions for change converged last month at Forefront’s first Advocacy Workshop Day to gain skills, share information and join forces to learn how to influence legislation and the media conversation in Washington state. The Jan. 24 workshop focused on behavioral health and suicide prevention.  Many different groups and organizations were represented. The event underscored the importance of speaking with a “united voice and mission,” said Forefront Faculty Director Jennifer Stuber.

State law calls for school crisis plans, training and community partnerships to help students dealing with suicidal thoughts and emotional distress (iStock photo)

What’s a classroom teacher to do when a student mentions having suicidal thoughts, or shows signs of emotional distress? How does the school counselor talk with the student’s parent? And where can the counselor refer a student for help? How should teachers, counselors and administration handle the grief and confusion following a student death by suicide? Crisis plans help educators anticipate and respond to issues like these. Washington’s public school districts are expected to have crisis plans in place by the end of this school year.


Insights Blog

Insights Blog

Mar 04, 2015 -- Sensationalistic news coverage of the recent death of a Southern California high school teacher points out the continuing need for media training on safe, responsible reporting of suicide and mental health issues. Perhaps if these reporters and editors had viewed the webcast below or referenced... more
Feb 27, 2015 -- When the world’s largest social network decides to get serious about suicide prevention, the media pay a lot of attention. Everywhere. Scores – perhaps hundreds – of news and information outlets have published reports about the Forefront-Facebook collaboration to provide online tools and... more
Feb 25, 2015 -- It takes a great deal of courage to acknowledge that you've struggled with suicidal thoughts, or that someone close to you has died by suicide. Such admissions are rare enough that we do not have common language for them, just as we don't have common ways of discussing mental health and... more