Facebook Friends Stop Suicide

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:17pm

Three strangers work together to save mutual friend after reading suicidal message.

“All I was thinking was I didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Those were the thoughts going through the head of a Pennsylvania woman on the night of March 19.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, says she swallowed a bottle of antidepressants.

Before swallowing the pills however, the woman posted a disturbing message on Facebook:

"I serve no purpose on Earth anymore," said the woman.

The status alarmed the woman’s friend, Samantha Garcia of Allentown.

Adam Wolfe of Frackville was also worried after reading the message.

“I called her, texted her and she wouldn’t answer,” said Wolfe.

The woman then posted another message:

“No one else gives a **** about me.”

“She was just saying she had no use on this Earth anymore,” said her friend Mandi McMullon, who also saw the status. “I said ‘you absolutely do!’”

McMullon, who was in Old Forge at the time, frantically messaged her friend on Facebook but received no response.

She then began to communicate with the woman’s other two Facebook friends on-line who also posted messages.

Even though they had never met each other, the three strangers worked together to help save their mutual friend.

“I didn’t know where she was located,” said Garcia.

The three called police and 911, found a relative of the woman and shared information on Facebook.

“A cop had arrived at my bedroom and took me to the hospital,” said the woman.

“Thank God,” said McMullon. “Just thank God that we were all there.”

“Good stories are few and far between,” said Parry Aftab of the Facebook Safety Advisory Board.

Aftab says people commit suicide on-line every day and use social media to post a last, desperate cry for help.

“What do you think allowed you to express your feelings there?” I asked the woman.

“It’s easier to type something without feeling like people are looking at you,” replied the woman. “I didn’t actually think people were going to respond to it.”

“The websites of the big networks have recognized this is a serious problem,” said Aftab.

Facebook created a feature allowing users to report suicidal comments.

A member of the Facebook team will email the person in crisis and provide a link to begin a confidential chat with a hotline counselor.

“They’ll work with law enforcement to try and get help to that person in time,” said Aftab.

“The fact that they cared that much to talk to one another about me to help me out, that means a lot,” said the woman.

Her friends say they didn’t know the Facebook staff could have assisted. Despite this, they still managed to save her because of the social media connection.

“Facebook made the impossible, possible,” said Garcia.

“It brought tears to my eyes because she was so grateful,” said McMullon.

“Don’t give up,” said the woman. “Don’t give in. When you feel like you’re alone you’re really not.”

The woman says counseling is helping her get her life back.

Experts say the best time to find out how to help prevent a suicide on-line is right now, before a crisis happens.
 

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