Facebook has teamed up with the Samaritans confidential emotional health service to allow Facebook users to report, through Facebook, if they are concerned that one of their Facebook friends is exhibiting suicidal tendancies, or threatening suicide. If a Facebook user reports (at the link included below) that they are concerned about a Facebook friend’s suicidal thoughts or talk of suicide, the Samaritans will reach out to that friend.

If you are worried about someone you can either:

  • Tell Samaritans via Facebook’s Help Centre. Facebook will then
    put Samaritans in touch with your friend to offer their support.
  • Try to talk to them yourself.

Ignoring the problem, or equally talking about your own troubles, will not help the person you’re worried about.

It isn’t yet clear how a U.K.-based organization, will reach out to everyone. Still the effort is praise worthy.

“Through the popularity of Facebook, we are harnessing the power of friendship so people can get help. As a friend you are better placed to know whether someone close to you is struggling to cope or even feeling suicidal.

We want to remind people who if a friend says that life isn’t worth living, they should always be taken seriously. Facebook is a part of daily life for so many of us and we must make sure that people online have support when they need it.”Says Catherine Johnstone, CEO of Samaritans.

“Samaritans have worked with Facebook to put in place a system that enables people to help their friends get help,” Facebook said.

“It is inevitable that, as the online environment becomes ever more intertwined in our daily lives, it will play a role in suicidal behaviour, for good and for bad. On the one hand, the internet creates new risks and challenges for suicide prevention, while, on the other hand, it also creates new possibilities for reaching vulnerable people.” Clare Wyllie, Head of Policy and Research, Samaritans.

Samaritans is staffed by trained volunteers, numbering about 17,000, and clearly they know what they are doing. One testimonial on the Samaritans site says “I spent three hours on the phone last night telling a complete stranger about my depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings. I’d never told anyone before. Today I feel like a different person. My troubles have not gone but a problem shared has been a problem halved. Thank you.”

Facebook Suicide Content Report Form – Preview

Useful Links

Facebook Suicide Content Report Form-  Link

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