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NZ suicide prevention chatbot launches on Facebook Messenger

Mental health initiative Live For Tomorrow today launches EmpathyBot, a free global chatbot on Facebook Messenger that gives people practical skills to start conversations about suicide.

The launch of EmpathyBot coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10.

EmpathyBot will launch at 7pm, 9 September NZST at https://m.me/livefortmw.

Globally, 800,000 people die of suicide each year (World Health Organization). New Zealand’s most recent suicide rates are the highest in 12 years.

EmpathyBot applies research that places interpersonal relationships as amongst the strongest protective factors for suicide.

It was developed by Live For Tomorrow, builders of the world-first online crisis intervention service, which supports young people disclosing suicide crises online. Live For Tomorrow is a partner of the Vodafone NZ Foundation.

"Everyone agrees that more needs to be done to prevent suicide. There seems to be a lot of encouragement to do that, but not a lot to actually show you how," says Elliot Taylor, Executive Director of Live For Tomorrow.

"We want to turn desire into action. People are hungry for practical skills. Now they can learn them easily, for free and in their own time."

In a conversation, EmpathyBot walks people through when to ask about suicide, how to do so safely, and taking meaningful next steps. Animal gifs offer warm fuzzies throughout.

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