Emotional support on Facebook

This news story appeared yesterday about Facebook working with Samaritans to provide support for people who might be depressed or suicidal and are using Facebook.

Samaritans were started in the 1950s by the wonderfully eccentric Chad Varah (he’s the one with the clerical collar and the Bakelite phone in their ‘about’ page) as a phone helpline, and I’d always regarded the introduction of their email service forty years later as one of the signs of the Internet entering the mainstream.  The connection with Facebook is a logical next step – in fact it’s focused on raising an alert if one Facebook user is worried about the emotional well-being of another.  This is nothing new in principle (Samaritans have always invited people to contact them if they are worried about a friend) but none the worse for that.


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