Facebook reaching out to prevent Suicides

Facebook is now letting you get help, if you're chatting with someone who indicates thoughts of suicide.

Facebook has a new suicide prevention outreach aimed at letting online chatters send out an alert, if there are concerns.

As of Tuesday, if there's a concern about a message, you can click on the 'x' next to it, and then on the 'report as abuse' panel, pick 'violence or harmful behavior' from the menu that pops up, and click on 'suicide.' that instantly sends a email to the person sending the questionable message---with a link to an online crisis counselor, or the phone number for a local counselor, like at the Suicide Prevention Hotline of Central New York (in Onondaga County 251-0600, Cayuga County 877 400-8740).

Cheryl Giarrusso, who runs telephone counseling services for CONTACT, says the outreach is much needed, 'Especially for young people. That's the place that we can do the most good, I think. We do have a 24-hour telephone service, but people are more and more often on the computer.'

The new Facebook outreach also lets 'friends' get help: "This is great," says Giarrusso, "because it will provide someone with an opportunity to help when they don't know what else to do. People get to know each other in a very different way on Facebook. It's a much more intimate place, they get to know the nuances of conversations."