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Dec 13, 2011 7:03 AM by Kate Richards

Facebook could be helping those contemplating suicide

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) - Facebook is making it easier for people who express suicidal thoughts on the social networking site to get help.

A program launching Tuesday enables users to instantly connect with a crisis counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through Facebook's "chat" messaging system.

If a friend spots a suicidal thought on someone's page, he can report it to Facebook by clicking a link next to the comment. Facebook then sends an email to the person who posted the comment encouraging that user to call the hotline or click a link for a confidential chat.

The service is Facebook's latest move aimed at improving safety on its site.

Facebook says the goal is to get a person in distress help as quickly as possible.

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