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Addressing Mental Health Using Online Tools

05/03/2017

Identifying early signs of mental health issues online can significantly improve our ability to treat individuals suffering from mental illness in a timely, and in some cases life-saving fashion. To help spur a dialogue on this multi-faceted issue, America’s biopharmaceutical companies brought together leading minds for a conversation titled New Cures, New Innovation for a New Era in Mental Health. The discussion – which included perspectives from experts in technology, biopharmaceutical innovation, community and public advocacy – was aimed at increasing awareness about how this enigmatic illness affects the lives of Americans, often in hidden ways and the new treatment options becoming available.

 

As a featured guest, Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety Policy at Facebook, spoke about the steps her company has taken to develop tools that improve safety in online communities. For example, Davis remarked, that Facebook has been working with mental health experts so that “now, in real-time, if someone is posting distressing content live, we have the ability to pop up resources for them.”

 

In addition to some of the tools that Facebook has been developing to identify and assist individuals who are posting about their mental health struggles or distress online, Davis discussed the broader role that the digital industry can play in addressing mental health online. “We are always looking to improve safety and improve support,” Davis said. “Our mission at Facebook is to give people the power to share and to connect and integral to that is that people feel safe and comfortable to do that.”