Facebook suicide prevention chat made available by social network

      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.