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Facebook Introduces New Tools to Help Prevent Suicide

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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.

"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."

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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.

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—Devin Coldewey

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