In a groundbreaking move to address the ongoing mental health crisis in the United States, Google announced today its plan to display prewritten texts that individuals in crisis can use to ask for help as part of its commitment to Mental Health Awareness Month, The tech giant aims to connect people with the necessary resources and support they need during vulnerable moments.
With mental health issues on the rise and searches for “mental health crisis” continually increasing, Google recognizes the urgent need for accessible mental health resources. Leveraging its extensive reach and expertise, Google has been at the forefront of aiding those in need by highlighting suicide prevention information at the top of relevant search results.
Now, Google is taking a step further by partnering with the International Association for Suicide Prevention to develop conversation starters that will be displayed as prompts when someone searches for suicide-related terms. These prompts will be available in the form of text messages, making it easier for individuals to reach out to someone they trust and ask for help. By reducing the stigma associated with seeking support during a crisis, these prewritten texts have the potential to positively impact the lives of countless individuals.
The new initiative builds upon the existing visibility of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a network of more than 200 state and local call centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health.
With suicide being the second-leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults, the company has collaborated with crisis service partners on YouTube to provide crisis support resource panels that enable young individuals to connect with live support.
To further protect viewers from harmful content related to eating disorders, Google has implemented measures to remove certain videos that depict or describe disordered eating behaviors. Age restrictions have been added to videos centered on eating disorder recovery, limiting access to viewers aged 18 and older. Furthermore, the crisis resource panel for eating disorders now appears beneath relevant videos. The depth of this issue is quite obvious as TikTok is redirecting searches related to terms like #eatingdisorders or #suicide to prompt viewers to access support resources.
In line with their commitment to supporting mental health organizations, Google has granted $100,000 to the Child Mind Institute to aid their day-to-day operations. Collaborating closely, the Child Mind Institute and YouTube are developing content tailored for younger audiences struggling with mental health issues, such as the #YouGotThis video series for Mental Health Awareness Month. This campaign features celebrities and influencers sharing personal stories of their own struggles, aiming to inspire and uplift young individuals who may be facing mental health challenges.
Google.org Fellows are collaborating with ReflexAI to develop HomeTeam. This innovative tool equips veterans with practical skills and allows them to support each other in a safe environment while encouraging those in need to seek additional support.
Through the Google.org Ad Grants program, Google enables organizations to reach a wider audience with authoritative mental health resources. In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Google has also facilitated the translation and dissemination of mental health guides in over 25 languages. These efforts have resulted in more than 14 million people being reached through donated Google Search ads, with one million visits to the WHO website to learn more.
As Google empowers individuals in crisis with prewritten texts for Mental Health Awareness Month, the company remains dedicated to providing easily accessible resources, support, and hope to individuals in crisis.
Source: Google Blog