Facebook announces new suicide-prevention feature

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Facebook is rolling out a new suicide-prevention feature in the US which will enable people to report suicidal posts on the social networking website.

When someone sees a worrisome post, which suggests that the person who wrote it might be considering suicide, they will be able to click on a dropdown menu and report the post to Facebook. They will be given the options to contact the friend who made the post, contact another friend for support or contact a suicide helpline.

Facebook will next review the post, and if it finds that there is reason for concern, the individual concerned will be presented with a prompt to get help the next time they log in.

“Hi, a friend thinks you might be going through something difficult and asked us to look at your recent post,” the Facebook support post reads.

Furthermore, Facebook will encourage vulnerable users to connect to the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or a friend, or to seek self-help advice from resources developed in partnership with mental health organisations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org in the US.

Announcing the new feature, Rob Boyle of Facebook said “Keeping you safe is our most important responsibility on Facebook.”

“Today, at our fifth Compassion Research Day, we announced updated tools that provide more resources, advice and support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their concerned friends and family members.”

The new feature will initially be available to U.S. Facebook users only and the roll out will happen in the next couple of months. The social networking giant confirmed it is also working to improve the tools for those outside the U.S.