Google today created onebox, a suicide hotline for Pakistan. At the top of the Search results page, this feature allows users to immediately connect with a suicide helpline. Anyone in Pakistan who types in terms like “suicide support” or “how can I commit suicide” will now be directed to the Umang Pakistan helpline.
Umang is a WHO-recognized mental health helpline that provides support to Pakistanis who are contemplating or planning suicide.
This collaboration between Umang and Google attempts to address Pakistan’s growing suicide rate. According to WHO estimates, Pakistan has between 130k and 270k attempted suicide cases each year. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in search interest in mental health issues. According to Google Trends, topics like “anxiety,” “depression,” and “suicide” all spiked in the country in the 2020-21 period.
Farhan Qureshi, Google’s Regional Director for Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, revealed the following:
Trends reveals that Pakistanis are seeking solutions concerning their mental health. We understand that time is of the utmost when seeking assistance, especially for individuals who are contemplating suicide. We hope that this functionality would assist vulnerable customers in locating assistance when they are in need.
Kinza Naeem, Founder & CEO of Umang Pakistan, also supplied the following information:
Mental health is the most ignored issue of our time, especially in a country like Pakistan, where more than 40% of the population suffers from mental illness in some form. We owe Google a huge debt of gratitude for this crucial collaboration. I am confident that by working together, we will be able to reach the greatest number of people in need of mental health help and break the stigma associated with it across the country.
This Search update will be available on both the desktop and mobile platforms (Android and iOS).