Suicide-related Google searches will provide message templates for reaching out

    It’s Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S., the month when we acknowledge that we’re aware of our cratering mental health, and then continue on regardless because capitalism demands it. To mark the occasion, Google has announced its U.S. search results for suicide-related terms will soon be updated to include pre-written text messages asking for help.

    The idea is that users can send these templates to someone they trust, rather than having to muster up the energy to articulate what they’re feeling.

    “People often turn to Google Search in some of their most vulnerable moments,” wrote Megan Jones Bell(opens in a new tab), Google’s consumer and mental health director. “In the context of a crisis, it is critical to instill hope and give simple information that is easy to act on.”


    Google applies advanced AI to suicide prevention and reducing graphic search results

    The pre-written messages will appear below the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline(opens in a new tab), which Google has displayed at the top of suicide-related searches in the U.S. since last year. Users will be able to swipe through several message options on their phone, then tap a “Send a text” prompt to open their messaging app and paste it in. 

    Developed in consultation with the International Association for Suicide Prevention(opens in a new tab), the messages range from “I’m struggling right now and just need to talk to someone — can we chat?” to “When you get a chance can you contact me? I feel alone and suicidal, and could use some urgent support.”

    It currently isn’t clear if or how the feature will work on desktop. Mashable has reached out to Google for comment.

    Search engine-supplied message templates for suicidal ideation may seem like a dire sign of the dystopian times we live in. However, people who are severely depressed can have trouble even getting out of bed, much less finding the words to tell someone that they would like to stop existing. Not having to think about what to write should at least reduce some of the friction when it comes to reaching out.

    If you’re feeling suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis, please talk to somebody. You can reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988; the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. Text “START” to Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email [email protected](opens in a new tab). If you don’t like the phone, consider using the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Chat at in a new tab). Here is a list of international resources(opens in a new tab).

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