Facebook Tools for U.S. Military
Blue Star Families' Annual Survey Leads to New Military Crisis Content
For the third consecutive year, Blue Star Families conducted its annual Military Lifestyle Survey. These surveys are critical to our ability to support our nation’s more than 2.2 million military families. The data that we collect ensures that we are providing the programs and services that are most needed.
Two significant findings from this year’s study led us to partner with Facebook.
First, social media use is prevalent throughout military families with over 90% of respondents reporting some type of use, of which 86% said that they were on Facebook daily. Time and time again we hear from military families about how they are using Facebook to stay connected.
Erin Whitehead (Marine Corps Spouse of the Year 2010), told us,
"Honestly, Facebook is my lifeline!!! The friendships I have made with spouses all over the world on FB keep me plugged in to an amazing network of spouses who I can call on day or night! In social media, the milspouse community has found an invaluable resource...the ability to keep an intimate friendship with the people with whom you have shared some of the toughest times...no matter where the military sends you!”
Secondly, our survey found that the percentage of military family members (for example military spouses) who have considered suicide (10%) is almost equal to the percentage of service members who have considered suicide (9 %). Facebook already provides suicide prevention resources and tools. Specifically, friends can report suicidal content, which triggers an email to the poster, providing him/her with a note that includes contact and chat information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
While this can be helpful, veterans, active duty service members and their families can have special needs. Blue Star Families has been working to meet these needs and there are several specific resources provided to our nation’s military that we wanted to make sure they were aware of, especially in times of potential crisis. That’s why we worked with the Facebook engineering team to develop a customized solution that could help to identify military families and military personnel, ensuring that friends and family members could send critical military-related counseling information to them in times of need.
Today, we along with Facebook and the Department of Veterans Affairs are proud to announce that the Facebook military crisis content is live. As a result, friends and families with concerns about veterans, active duty service members and military family members will receive specific information about crisis services for our nation’s military including The Veterans Crisis Line. The Veterans Crisis line connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders via phone, online chat or text messaging.
This is just one way to help our nation’s military families in their time of need. However, we believe that the Facebook platform, which is used on a daily basis by so many of our families, will be a critical means of helping our military community live long, healthy and successful lives after they have sacrificed so much for our safety and way of life.
Tune in tomorrow to learn more at 3PM EST at http://on.fb.me/FBDCTalks for a live, interactive Facebook event featuring representatives from Blue Star Families, Facebook, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Wounded Warrior Project. RSVP for the event by clicking here.
--Stephanie Himel-Nelson, Blue Star Families, Director of Communications
Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. Blue Star Families works to make military life more sustainable through moral and empowerment programs and raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life.