Tech giant Google has collaborated with an NGO to launch a suicide hotline in Pakistan to tackle the rising number of suicides and mental health-related issues being reported in the country.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, there are around 130,000 to 270,000 cases of attempted suicide being reported in Pakistan every year.
“Anyone in Pakistan searching for suicide-related queries such as “suicide support” and “how can I commit suicide” will now be directed to the “Umang Pakistan’s” helpline,” Google said in a statement issued on Friday.
Google Regional Director of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Farhan Qureshi told the media on Friday that the hotline will enable users to get instant help at the top of the search result page when they browse anything related to “suicide”.
Recognised by the WHO, Umang is a mental health helpline that offers support to vulnerable Pakistanis contemplating suicide.
“As we see from Trends [Google], Pakistanis are looking for answers about their mental health. 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,” Qureshi said.
On their collaboration with the tech giant, founder and chief executive officer of Umang, 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 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 said.