Social networks offer a means for folk to express their feelings on a public forum, but while, for the most part, status updates on Facebook consist of the odd gripe or in-depth detailing of one’s daily schedule, there are occasions where those upset, depressed, or otherwise feeling low, may wish to share more ominous, worrisome sentiments. When this occurs, there’s often that fear that an individual isn’t in a well state of mind, and may be considering taking their own life, and with Facebook connecting well over one-sixth of the world’s population, the Menlo Park firm has now added some features that may prove life-saving.

If you happen to read a post by somebody and it seems to be experiencing suicidal thoughts, the new feature will let you report it in a timely manner. Said individual will then be encouraged consult a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and will also be offered any support or information that could be of assistance.

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Facebook has colluded with a number of mental health organizations in order to to help refine the system, and while it would be naive to think that the features will dissuade all suicidal individuals, it’s certainly a step in the right direction as the world continues to expand its open discussion about depression.

In an official blog post on the feature, Facebook notes of working with Now Matters as well as the likes of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and at a time when online bullying seems an unfortunate trend of our times, it’s great to see that Mark Zuckerberg’s team is aware if its responsibilities and duty of care to its user base.

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Those who spot and report troubled posts can also offer more direct assistance, with the feature allowing those concerned about another Facebook user to send a message or call up the individual directly. Moreover, access to information and guidance for dealing with a suicidal person is also provided if need be, and while these features will trickle out to U.S. consumers in the short-term, Facebook’s long-term goal is to develop a support network that can offer urgent assistance to its user base worldwide.

(Source: Facebook)

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