School internet filter maker launches suicide risk detector

The system will classify the behavior as one of five categories — General suicide research, general suicide ideation, help and support, self harm and active planning. A search for “how to tie a noose,” for example, will be flagged as “active planning” while someone looking up the statistics of people who commit suicide each year will fall under “general suicide research.”

Depending on how each school configures Beacon, the counselor will also see information like how to contact local authorities and the child’s parents. They can also add their own assessment of the student’s risk level and note if they had followed up.

GoGuardian CEO Advait Shinde told Engadget that Beacon has been in testing for almost a year, and in that time the system has flagged about 2,000 cases per week. On occasion, school staff who were alerted by Beacon were able to get parents to intervene in the nick of time.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), some 45,000 Americans die from suicide each year. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

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