Google has launched a suicide hotline / helpline for Pakistan on Thursday in collaboration with ‘Umang Pakistan’ enabling users to get quick help at the top of the search results page as they browse anything related to suicide. In a statement issued by the tech giant, it wants to help tackle the rising number of suicides in Pakistan with the help of Umang.
It is pertinent to mention that Umang Pakistan is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a mental health helpline that offers support to vulnerable Pakistanis ideating or planning suicide. According to WHO, there are around 130,000 to 270,000 people who attempt suicide in Pakistan each year.
Meanwhile, Google trends suggest that search interest in mental health issues has been on the rise during 2020-21 with people looking for topics like anxiety, depression, and suicide. “As we see from Trends [Google], Pakistanis are looking for answers about their mental health.” said Google Regional Director of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, Farhan Qureshi.
“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.” he added. Meanwhile, Umang Pakistan Founder and CEO, Kinza Naeem said, “Mental health is the biggest unaddressed problem of our era, especially at a place like Pakistan where more than 40 per cent 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 nation-wide,” she added.
Meanwhile, the suicide hotline update in Pakistan will be provided by Google on both desktop as well as mobile search results.