Google’s initiative to connect people who might potentially commit suicide is particularly strategic -- and supportive.
If you ever do a Google search for “suicide” or some variation of it — “kill myself”, “how to commit suicide without pain”, and more — here’s what shows up.
Aasra is a Mumbai-based charitable suicide-prevention organisation, and the number that Google displays is their 24/7 helpline which anyone can call if they are feeling, you know, suicidal. The name roughly translates to “shelter” in English.
The World Health Orgnisation (WHO) estimates that every 40 seconds, a person dies by committing suicide. Suicide estimates suggest fatalities worldwide could rise to 1.5 million by 2020, according to Aasra.
Suicide is a largely preventable public health problem, causing almost half of all violent deaths as well as economic costs that run into the billions, says Aasra quoting the WHO.
A study done by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) states that 36% people who work in the technology industry in Bengaluru show signs of psychiatric disorder. And nearly 30% are addicted to narcotics.
According to industry body Assocham — The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India — 66% of Indian CEOs are “stressed out”, and 11% of them find work “too much to handle.”
Against this backdrop, Google’s initiative to connect people who might potentially commit suicide is particularly strategic — and supportive.
Google reached out to Aasra five years ago, and the response since then has been “phenomenal” said, the charitable organisation’s director Johnson Thomas.
“When people know there is help at hand, there is someone they can talk to, it stops them from going ahead with something as extreme as suicide,” Mr Thomas said.
Mr Thomas clarified it was Google that approached them and no money was exchanged for the listing.