I face many personal dilemmas on Facebook in particular and many of these issues are very personal and distressing to the mother in this situation. I pride myself that over the past 2 years of running the support group, I have gained the trust of many of the ladies who are members.
While the majority of the time the group is a fun and supportive platform which offers advice and a warm friendly place to be. Sadly it can quickly turn into a minefield of worry and confusion.
Suicide threats are never taken lightly. Those women who threaten to take their own lives on Facebook have to be taken as serious as a woman stood in front of me holding a knife to her wrists.
How can I judge if this lady is crying out for help or really wants to kill herself? The answer is I cannot make that call and neither can you.
I have faced on numerous occasions mothers who are on the brink of giving up and thankfully have come to talk too personally in confidence about the dark feelings they are having. But not all do.
Despite what we all think, if someone on Facebook threatens suicide we all have an obligation to help. You cannot turn your back on a friend in need.
What Can I Do If A Friend On Facebook Threatens Suicide?
The first and most important step you can take is to message your friend, let them know you are there and you are ready to listen and be there for them.
You can help your friend by gaining further support to allow you to help them by contacting one of the support agencies that Facebook Help Centre recommends.
I have in the past contacted the ladies friends and family, some of these ladies I have not personally known but after she would not respond to my messages, it left me no other option than to inform her family. Facebook provides a list of family members on many profiles so this makes it a little easier.
A quick message of concern sent to 5 family members listed on her profile, ended in a thank you message some hours later from the women’s sister, who after receiving my message had phoned the lady in question, she had not answered so had driven 15 minutes to her home. The police had forced entry to find the mum semi-conscious. After a night or two in hospital the lady was discharged, thankfully alive.
I will never forget that incident as I spent hours worrying. Yet it all ended well. The mother is still a member of my group and although at first was angry at me, is now thankful I took steps to ensure she was safe.
I have since had a small but alarming number of mothers threaten suicide and each time I follow the same steps. Thankfully most respond to my message asking them to please reply as I am worried and if they do not then I would have to involve the local authorities. All the women on my support group are mothers or mothers to be, I also have an obligation to not only take their wellbeing into account but also the safety of their children.
As I am in the UK I am not too sure how reporting suicide content to Facebook would help but there is that option too.
Next time you see a friend in need please reach out and offer some kind words of support. You may just save a life.
Not every suicide threat posted to Facebook is for attention.