Samaritans Radar is a new Twitter app designed to warn users whether their connections online are at risk of suicide.
Predominantly aimed at those aged 15 to 35, the free app works by using a specially designed algorithm to monitor the tweets of those in people's network. If it finds specific keywords or phrases that throw up red flags that a person may be struggling to cope, such as explicit phrases like "kill myself" or "want to die," as well as "end it all," "sleep and never wake up," or "I'm worthless."
The app will then send an email alert to a Twitter follower, which will include a link to the tweet that raised the alarm. That person will then be offered guidance on the best way of providing support to the tweeter.
Some of those tips include getting in contact with the person through a tweet, direct message, email or text message "gently asking how they're doing," or making time to chat in person or on the phone.
Other less explicit tweets that could spark action include those expressing a sense of hopelessness, the absence of a future, the sense of being trapped or someone talking about feeling very tired.
The Samaritan Radar was created partly in response to recent research that revealed an association between the rates of tweets per user determined to be at risk of suicide and actual suicide rates.
The app is based around the assumption that the target age group on Twitter mainly follow their friends. However, the Samaritans have suggested that celebrities and high profile figures might also appreciate extra support from their followers if they too are feeling vulnerable.