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Facebook And Samaritans Launch Suicide Alert System

Facebook has partnered with charity the Samaritans to allow users to sound alerts about potentially suicidal Facebook friends.

The service, which is already available in the US and Norway, will let 30 million British Facebook users alert the website and the charity about distressed friends whom they believe could be suicidal.

Users can alert Facebook by visiting a link on the platform's help page. The link will let users flag suicidal messages, wall posts and status messages and provide other related details. Facebook will then alert the police and pass on the details to the Samaritans.

Facebook users will also be able to access contact details of the Samaritans in the UK and Ireland and similar organisations in the US and Norway.

The Facebook suicide alert comes after a series of cases in which people reportedly announced their intentions before taking their lives. The most prominent of these cases was the one concerning Simone Black who told her 1,048 Facebook friends that she had taken a medicine overdose.

Catherine Johnstone, Samaritans chief executive, said in a statement, “As a friend you are better placed to know whether someone close to you is struggling to cope or even feeling suicidal. We want to remind people that if a friend says that life isn't worth living, they should always be taken seriously.”