Those who suffer from suicidal thoughts and mental health issues can now search for help more easily on Google, the internet giant said Wednesday as more people go online for support during the pandemic.
The National Center for Mental Health hotline will automatically appear on top of the results whenever a search includes "suicide" and related keywords, Google said.
The helpline (0966-351-4518) is a free 24-hour service catering to any mental health-related query -- from connecting callers to mental health professionals for counseling to proper triaging of those who are in crisis.
The address to the NCMH site, where additional contact numbers are available, such as its toll-free Luzon-wide landline (1553) and alternative mobile numbers for Globe/TM (0917-899-8727) and Smart/Sun/TNT (0908-639-2672).
The NCMH reported a five-fold increase in distress calls to its hotline during the pandemic, to 400 per month from 80 before the quarantine started last March. An average of 50 suicide-related concerns were reported per month.
"Let's make it a habit to check in on ourselves and others and consult a professional if needed. There is always help and hope," said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.
“Many Filipinos are grappling with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. We want them to know that they are not alone and that we are ready to help,” said Frances Prescilla Cuevas, Head of the Department of Health's National Mental Health Program.