If we are being honest with ourselves, a lot of our Facebook friends aren't people that we know personally.

This means that we sometimes find it hard to reach out to them directly if they are going through depression, anxiety or having suicidal thoughts.

Not knowing them intimately may mean that you may also be nervous about reaching out to them through their private inbox. So how do you help when you see that someone on your timeline is in need. 

In 2011, Facebook announced on their Facebook Safety page, a launch of new tools to help people keep safe while using the social media network. The updated tools would help provide "more resources, advice and support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their concerned friends and family members".

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At the time the updated tools were available in the U.S but are now available worldwide with specialised information for those in need.

They have teams all around the world, 24/7 who will review reports. "They prioritise the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress".

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How do you flag a friend who is need?

You can flag a friend who is need of help by going on the Facebook Report Suicidal Content page. You'll be asked to enter the person's full Facebook name and surname as well their Facebook URL. You will also need to enter the link to the specific post. There is an option to send Facebook a screenshot of the post. You can also send them additional notes about your friend if you think that it may help them get the help they need. 

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You can also visit the Facebook Safety Resources that provides information on how to help a friend if they identify as LGBT and may be suffering from suicidal thoughts for example. 

Remember to report instances to close family members and friends and if your Facebook friend is in imminent danger contact the police immediately. 

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