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Facebook Expands Suicide-Prevention Tools

Facebook suicide prevention
Facebook plans to update its suicide-prevention toolkit with more resources, advice, and support for people struggling with suicidal thoughts, as well as their friends and family.
The social network consulted with those who have survived self-injury or have experience with suicide, as well as mental health organizations like Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and
"One of the first things these organizations discussed with us was how much connecting with people who care can help those in distress," Facebook product manager Rob Boyle and community operations safety specialist Nicole Staubli wrote in a blog post.
Going forward, if you spot a post on Facebook that suggests a friend might be in danger, you can report it to Facebook. Reports indicate this tool will be available via the "Report" button on posts, but Facebook did not elaborate or immediately respond to a request for comment.
The next time the friend or family member in distress logs into the site, however, they'll see a notification from Facebook, which will urge them to connect with a mental health expert, or to reach out to a friend via the network. Facebook will also provide tips and advice on how to work through their feelings.
Facebook suicide prevention"All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners," Boyle and Staubli said.
New features are also available to the person who flagged the troubling post: Call or message the friend, or reach out to a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.
The updates are rolling out to U.S. Facebook users over the coming months; the company is also working to improve tools outside of the country.
In late 2011, the social media giant launched an initiative for users who expressed suicidal thoughts to connect directly with a crisis counselor via Facebook chat.
The company later partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Blue Star Families to provide customized crisis services to military families at risk for depression or suicide.
Not everyone has had such success, though. Last year, suicide prevention charity Samaritans launched a free Web service that monitors friends' tweets and alerts users to anyone who may be struggling. After some backlash, however, the company decided to pull the app.

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