Kathryn Lindsay
June 15, 2016 5:49 am

Social media keeps us connected in ways we never thought possible. It’s the perfect platform for expressing ourselves — good and bad. That means that while we often get updates about people’s day-to-day lives, we also get glimpses into their sadness. That’s why it’s extremely important that today Facebook made their suicide prevention tools available worldwide.

Of course, not every negative status is necessarily a cry for help. But if you’ve noticed your friend is having a hard time through their posts online, it’s now easier than ever to gently reach out. Users can flag a post the same way you’d flag something as being inappropriate, except this time, you can report that you’re worried about self-harm or suicide. Facebook then gives the option to send a message, or anonymously share resources, which looks like this:

Of course, if it’s an emergency, Facebook is adamant that you should call the police. However, this feature is better for those gray areas, those times when you’re not sure if you should reach out but know the person needs help.

While TechCrunch reports that this tool was already available for some English-language users, today marks the worldwide roll-out of these crucial features. The company is partnering with mental health organizations around the world to ensure that users receive the help they need if they need it.

This is so important because social media allows more exposure to the thoughts and feelings than we sometimes see in person. People confide in the internet the things they can’t say IRL, and this new feature means that we’re still able to give them help, even if it’s through a screen.

All the applause for Facebook. Let’s hope this feature gives as many people as possible they help they need and deserve.

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