Messages about self-harm on social media will now be flagged so friends can help

While many posts on Facebook are easy to ignore while mindlessly scrolling, there are times that a message evokes genuine concern. Messages of despair, loneliness, self-harm and suicide are alarming and often paralyzing. In an effort to help, Facebook Safety is rolling out a suicide prevention tool that will have a mechanism and processes that makes it easier for people to help friends in need.

The new feature will allow people to flag friends’ posts that are concerning. These posts will then be reviewed by a team at Facebook that will provide language to start a conversation with the person who is at risk, and information on suicide prevention. With a reported 30-year high in suicide rates, according to The National Center for Health Science, the new Facebook tool couldn’t come at a better time.

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