Concerned about a friend on Facebook?

It's important to look out for friends online in the same way that we look out for people in every day life.

That's why we're working with Facebook to help support people struggling to cope.

Help a friend in need

People who are going through a tough time, sometimes use social media as a way of expressing how they're feeling and as a friend you may be one of the first to notice.

A new guide from Samaritans and Facebook

We have worked with Facebook to produce a guide called Help a Friend in Need which helps people to identify if one of their friends is going through a hard time.

Connecting with others is crucial to people who may be at risk of suicide. Reaching out and offering people support can be life-saving.

The guide also offers suggestions on how to approach a friend, what to say, how to react and what to avoid. It gives people the skills to reach out without fear of making the situation worse.

Download our guide

Download your copy of Help a Friend in Need. The guide is also available at Facebook’s Family Safety Centre and Samaritans Facebook page.

We're pleased to welcome the expertise of a great partner in Samaritans. They will help to make our system even more effective, as we encourage friends to look out for one another on Facebook as they do in the real world.
Facebook’s Director of Policy for Europe, Richard Allan

Samaritans' partnership with Facebook

We've been working with Facebook on suicide prevention since 2011. Through our partnership, we have helped develop various features within Facebook's reporting process:

  • If a person thinks a friend is in need of support, they can use a form in Facebook’s Help Centre to flag their concern or use the various reporting links on Facebook.
  • Facebook monitors reports 24 hours a day and concerns that someone may be at risk are prioritised.
  • If someone who is suicidal is reported to Facebook, their safety team will take a look at the account. If they consider that person to be at risk of immediate harm they may, in rare cases, alert the police. 
  • If Facebook thinks an immediate risk is unlikely but someone is showing signs of distress, they will interrupt that person's Facebook experience and send them a message to say that a friend has concerns that they may be in crisis. Facebook will then offer information on how to contact Samaritans.

More information can be found in the Facebook help centre.

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