The Imagery of Facebook’s Suicide Prevention Message

Posted By Debbie on February 27, 2015

This image has been floating around this week:

ScreenHunter_234 Feb. 26 09.59

I think that anything anybody can do to reach out to people who are hurting and unfortunately considering suicide can only be a good thing. It looks like Facebook carefully wrote a message that isn’t too emotional but lets someone know that friends are worried and there IS help out there.

But What’s Up With The Heart With The Question Mark?

I can’t help but wonder if that’s really the right imagery or icon considering the potentially grave situation. I imagine that you’d want an image that shows care, warmth, and some sort of “people care and we’re here for you.”

So why the question mark? I would hate for a depressed person to see a heart with a question mark and interpret it as “does anybody love you?”

How about just the blue heart. A blue heart is already a little sad.

And there is no question here so we don’t need a question mark. Everything is written as declarative sentences. Someone asked us to look at a post that made them concerned. Click to see that post.

The next screen asks the same question twice: What would you like to do? I’m not sure I want to ask a suicidal person what he or she wants to do. I think that second screen would be FINE without the twice-asked “what would you like to do?” Remove both instances of that question.

I’m glad Facebook is doing this, but I think the imagery and some of the copy could be better given the extremely delicate nature of the situation. This message might come as a surprise to someone who receives it, so how can it be warmer and softer?