Google has rolled out “suicide hotline onebox” for Pakistan to enable users to quickly connect with a suicide helpline. A statement from the tech giant reads; “Anyone in Pakistan searching for suicide-related queries such as “suicide support” and “how can I commit suicide” will now be shown the Umang Pakistan’s helpline.”
What is the suicide hotline onebox?
The suicide hotline onebox is an initiative by Google to help the people of Pakistan who are suffering from mental health issues or feeling suicidal. The suicide hotline onebox enables users to connect people with a suicide helpline that will appear on the top of the search results page whenever someone is searching for suicide support. Google Regional Director for Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka Farhan Qureshi, said; “We understand time is of the essence when searching for help, especially for those who may be facing suicidal thoughts. We hope that this feature aids vulnerable users in finding help in times of need.”
According to Google Trends, topics such as “anxiety”, “depression” and “suicide” all peaked in the 2020-21 period in the country. While WHO reports state that there are around 130,000 to 270,000 cases of attempted suicide in Pakistan each year. The partnership between Google and Umang Pakistan will tackle the issues mental health issues in Pakistan that have considerably spiked in recent years.
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Umang is a WHO-recognized mental health helpline that offers support to vulnerable Pakistanis dealing with mental health issues. Regarding the partnership between Google and Umang Pakistan, the CEO of Umang Pakistan, Kinza Naeem, said; “Mental health is the biggest unaddressed problem of our era, especially in a place like Pakistan where more than 40% of the population is suffering from some degree of mental health issues. We are utterly grateful to google for this timely partnership. I am certain that together we will be able to reach out to the maximum number of people in dire need of mental health support and break the taboo around it nationwide.”