If a Facebook friend posts something that indicates he might be thinking of harming himself, users can click on an arrow on the post to report it.

Facebook will then offer options to contact the friend, contact another friend for support or contact a suicide helpline. The social network partnered with mental health organisations Forefront, reported leading daily.Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org to develop the tool.

"One of the first things these organisations 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 Facebook post.

Facebook has given users a way to report potentially suicidal content since 2011, but the previous feature required users to upload screenshots or a link of the post to the company's suicide prevention page.

Currently, the updated feature is accessible by a limited number of users in the US. Facebook plans to roll out the service more widely in the coming months. Concerned friends simply click "report" next to the post and are given some options.

Friends will see tips including a suicide prevention hotline and can choose to message the person who wrote the troubling post. If they choose that option, Facebook has a pre-written message ready to send. People can also opt for Facebook to intervene.

If Facebook's worldwide team determines that a user's post is troubling, the user will need to review a page of options the next time he logs in.

A private message on the page will greet the user, then say "a friend thinks you might be going through something difficult and asked us to look at your recent post".

Then, the user will have the option to contact someone, look at suicide prevention tips or skip the message.

 

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