In the past, it has been reported that the things we post and share on our social media platforms could be a sign of our current mental health, where certain postings could actually be a sign that the person could be depressed and might be having suicidal thoughts. In a bid to help prevent suicides, Northumbria University in the UK has announced an initiative that will involve studying the social media accounts of its students to look for signs and to intervene if they have to.

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Dubbed the Early Alert Tool, this is a tool that will comb through the social media profiles of the university’s students and when it identifies that a student is experiencing a crisis, it will then give the student the help that they might need.

According to Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, “Taking preventative action to promote good mental health is critical, as is taking a whole institution approach and involving students in developing solutions. In addition, the earlier we can identify issues developing, the more effectively we can give the vital support that is needed.”

The university won’t be the first to take advantage of technology to help identify students experiencing a mental health crisis. A couple of years ago, Facebook announced that they would be rolling out an AI tool that will be able to detect people on the verge of committing suicide and help to report it so as to prevent a tradegy from happening.

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