Facebook launches new effort to prevent suicides

Megan Nicolai

Facebook is launching a new service to help people posting suicidal thoughts to get help, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

With the new service, if a friend notices a suicidal thought on a Facebook page, they can report it by clicking on a link next to the comment. The Facebook team will then send an email to the person urging them to get help, and provides a phone number for a crisis hotline or a link to a live chat with a crisis counselor.

Facebook officials said they have no opportunity to check the millions of website updates each day, and hopes relying on friends of troubled individuals will help curb crises.

“One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible,” Fred Wolens, public policy manager at Facebook, said.