Tech

This Is What Google Shows You Now When You Type 'Suicide'

This is to also prompt people online to seek professional help during their vulnerable state.
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The uncertainties and challenges brought about by the pandemic continue to take a toll on mental health. To help the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in its service to provide free, reliable, and confidential psychological support, Google now instantly shows the NCMH Crisis Hotline on Search. Below is a screenshot of the prompt. 

Photo by Google.

By simply typing in suicide-related keywords on Search such as  “suicide prevention,” the NCMH Crisis Hotline immediately shows up without opening the website. This is to also prompt people online to seek professional help during their vulnerable state.  

Launched in 2019 by the Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with NCMH, the Philippines’ first Crisis Hotline (0966-351-4518) is a 24-hour service meant to respond to mental health-related queries. It connects the public to mental health professionals who can provide the necessary counseling and proper triaging. 

The search query result also features the link to the NCMH official site, which contains more information and contact details, including a toll-free Luzon-wide landline (1553), an alternative Globe/TM number (0917-899-8727), and a Smart/Sun/TNT number (0908-639-2672). 

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According to the NCMH data, there was a significant increase in monthly hotline calls in 2020 regarding depression, with numbers rising from 80 calls pre-lockdown to nearly 400, including a monthly average of more than 50 suicide-related concerns. 

"As the pandemic continues to affect people's mental well-being, we want to help by partnering with the Department of Health's National Center for Mental Health to connect Filipinos to immediately accessible and reliable information online through Google Search," said Bernadette Nacario, Google's country director in the Philippines. "Let's make it a habit to check in on ourselves and others and consult a professional if needed. There is always help and hope." 

“Many Filipinos are grappling with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. We want them to know that they are not alone and that we are ready to help,” said Frances Prescilla Cuevas, head of the Department of Health's National Mental Health Program. “It’s important to reach more people through platforms like Google Search to provide them with the information and help they need.” 

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline through the following hotlines: toll-free Luzon-wide landline (1553), Globe/TM (0966-351-4518 and 0917-899-8727), or Smart/Sun/TNT (0908-639-2672). 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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