Facebook is joining efforts to reduce Japan’s high suicide rate, creating a way for those in despair to be noticed and given a sympathetic ear.
Facebook users in some markets have been able to do this since 2011, but only now is it being made available in Japan.
The service runs in cooperation with suicide hotline group Federation of Inochi No Denwa Inc., whose name roughly translates to Call of Life, and nonprofit organization Befrienders International Suicide Prevention Center Tokyo.
Although the figures are falling, suicide among young people remains a serious problem in Japan.
The National Police Agency says there was a total of 24,025 deaths from suicide in 2015, a decline for six consecutive years.
In the same year, suicide accounted for about half of all deaths among those aged 20 to 29.
Facebook’s engagement with suicide prevention is “Extremely important,” Yasuyuki Shimizu, head of suicide prevention nonprofit organization Lifelink, said Thursday.