Samaritans Work With Facebook

7 March 2011, 16:14 | Updated: 9 March 2011, 15:50

It will soon be easier for you to help friends on facebook who you think may be struggling to cope.

Facebook status' suggesting somebody may be finding things difficult could now lead to an offer of help from the Samaritans.

People worried about a friend will be able to tell Samaritans via, where they can report specific content such as status updates or wall posts. Facebook will then put Samaritans in touch with the distressed friend to offer their help.

They can then go to their local support group in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Samaritans also have a Facebook Page, giving advice on supporting friends such as how to spot the signs of distress and how to start a difficult conversation.

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said: "Through the popularity of Facebook, we are harnessing the power of friendship so people can get help. As a friend you are better placed to know whether someone close to you is struggling to cope."

We want to remind people that if a friend says that life isn’t worth living, they should always be taken seriously. Facebook is a part of daily life for so many of us and we must make sure that people online have support when they need it."

Steve Evans, the director of the Norwich Samaritans has been telling Heart, "It will stay confidential, but the person you're concerned about will get a message from Samaritans, telling them that a friend of theirs is concerned. If that person wants to take up one of the contact opportunities, then they can do so."

He says the main signs to watch out for are:

A change in behaviour
Loss of contact with family
Acting irritable or nervous
Comments such as: "Nobody loves me" and "waste of space"
And leading statements such as "You wouldn't believe what I've been through..."