Google's pre-written texts to tackle suicide, aid people to ask for help

Google is also expanding its work with mental health organisations, especially those focused on helping certain populations like children and veterans

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People turning to Google Search with suicide-related terms may find new pre-written texts that may prompt them to ask for help in their most vulnerable moments, the tech giant has announced.

Google developed the pre-written prompts in partnership with the International Association for Suicide Prevention to reduce the stigma of reaching out to ask for help, which is shown to help people get support in moments of crisis.

The new feature will be first rolled out in the US, and will appear below the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

"When someone is in a vulnerable situation, it can be difficult to put this experience into words and know what to say to ask for help," Dr Megan Jones Bell, Clinical Director, Consumer and Mental Health at Google, said in a blog post.

"To better support people reaching out to someone they trust, starting soon in the US, when someone searches for suicide-related terms, they'll see a prompt with conversation starters they can send via text message," she added.

Suicide prevention information has been visible at the top of relevant search results for years.

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Recently, Google also updated its approach to eating disorder-related content. To protect viewers from harmful content, the tech giant removed certain content that showed or described "disordered eating behaviours such as bingeing or purging", Dr Bell said.

"We're also adding age-restriction to videos that are centred on eating disorder recovery to viewers 18 years or older.

"And the crisis resource panel for eating disorders now appears underneath videos related to eating disorders, in addition to the search results, to reach even more people when they're watching content on this topic. These changes will help make space for community and recovery, while continuing to protect viewers," she said.

Further, Google is also expanding its work with mental health organisations, especially those focused on helping certain populations like children and veterans.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, there are resources available to help from Google and many other trustworthy organisations.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 16 2023 | 4:35 PM IST

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