Facebook launched a new suicide prevention tool Tuesday, giving users in the U.S. and Canada a direct link to an online chat with counsellors who can help, the company said.
Friends are able to report suicidal behaviour by clicking a report option next to any piece of content on the site and choosing suicidal content under the harmful-behaviour option, Face-book spokesman Frederic Wolens said.
Facebook will then email the user in distress a direct link for a private online chat with a crisis rep from the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as the group’s phone number.
The new tool gives people who may not be comfortable picking up the phone a direct avenue to seek help.
“This was a natural progression from something we’ve been working on for a long time,” Wolens said.
Users also have the ability to report suicidal behaviour by going to the site’s Help Centre or search for suicide-reporting forms. They can also use reporting links around the site.
Worried friends who reported the behaviour will also receive a message to say it is being addressed, Wolens said.