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Facebook and the University of Washington want to help prevent suicide

One of the ways you can determine whether a person is potentially suicidal is by looking at the comments they make, whether in real life or on the Internet. That’s why Facebook is teaming up with researchers at the University of Washington to identify comments on Facebook that may indicate a person is considering suicide and offer them support and tools that can potentially help them overcome these thoughts. 

A collaboration between Facebook and researchers at the University of Washington has been launched to get help to those who post what may be suicidal thoughts on the social network. At its fifth annual Compassion Research Day in Menlo Park, Facebook and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention — an organization based in the UW’s School of Social Work — announced they have been working together to provide online resources and support to potentially suicidal people. Among other things, Forefront says Facebook joined with it and other mental health experts to improve reporting of, and responses to, suicidal posts. If a post is flagged, the person reporting it will see a series of screens suggesting he or she contact the person, another Facebook friend or a trained professional at a suicide helpline.

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