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Facebook Introduces New Tools to Help Prevent Suicide

Facebook
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

People struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm often drop hints to friends in conversation, in emails—even on Facebook. The social network is adding resources to help people having such thoughts, it announced on Wednesday. Starting in the next few months, a post indicating suicidal or harmful thoughts can be flagged by a friend as such, at which point Facebook will be alerted—after advising the flagger to call emergency services if deemed necessary.

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"We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in," the company wrote. "They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress."

The troubled poster will then receive a message from Facebook saying that someone was concerned about them, and providing options for talking with a friend or mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The service will be rolling out over the next few months, but only in the U.S. for now—though similar capabilities are being worked on for other countries.