Samaritans and Facebook team to ‘help a friend in need’ on National Suicide Prevention Day

The Samaritans and Facebook have teamed to create a guide to help users identify when one of their friends may be in need of help.

Launched to mark National Suicide Prevention Day, the ‘help a friend in need’ guide gives the public suggestions on how to approach their friend, what to say, how to react and what to avoid.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s head of policy in the UK & Ireland, said: “Studies have shown that connectedness is crucial to people who may be at risk of suicide – reaching out and offering people support can be a life-saving act.

“We created Help A Friend In Need because we want to make sure that friends and family have the resources to help identify when someone is distressed and know what steps to take, particularly in extreme cases where someone’s life might be in danger.”

Users can report suicidal content from a Facebook post by clicking on the upper-right corner and following the prompts. These reports are constantly monitored, providing those in need with resources in their local language from one of Facebook’s 33 global suicide prevention partners. 

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “We know that people are spending an increasing amount of their lives online and it’s often a place where they turn when they are going through a difficult time. Knowing what signs to look out for on Facebook, or anywhere else online, can have a real impact in helping to support those you might be worried about.

“It’s important that we continue to develop the work we do with organisations like Facebook, which is we are pleased to partner with them on this practical guide.”

The guide has been made available at Facebook’s Family Safety Centre as well as on the Samaritans Facebook page. It will also be featured in new ads on Facebook geared towards young people throughout September.


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