Facebook implements Samaritans suicide help system

7 Mar 2011

Social networking site Facebook has joined forces with emotional support provider Samaritans to create a facility on Facebook that allows friends to get help for a friend they believe may be suicidal.

The way it works is that concerned friends will be able to alert Samaritans through Facebook’s Help Centre, where they can provide content that suggests a friend may be suicidal, such as status updates or wall posts. Facebook said its privacy policy allows this information to be passed on, the Press Association reported.

Facebook will then put Samaritans in touch with the distressed friend.

Samaritans has also launched an awareness campaign on its Facebook page, advising visitors on how to spot signs of distress and how to support vulnerable friends.

The joint Facebook-Samaritans initiative follows the apparent suicide of 42-year-old Simone Beck, from Brighton, England. She had told 1,048 Facebook friends she had taken an overdose, but no one raised the alarm until the next day.