More Than Answers: This Is How Google Helped Save A Life

Most people are just looking for answers to their everyday dilemmas or help with their assignments when they use search giant Google. On January 3rd, however, a 24-year-old girl was looking for a more permanent solution to her woes when she typed, “How to commit suicide” into the search bar.

The girl had recently been dumped by her boyfriend who had been pressurised into doing so by his family. Depressed and unable to deal with the heartbreak, the only thing she could think of was jumping into the Yamuna canal and ending her life. As luck would have it, before she attempted the act, she decided to look at her options online.

Thankfully, instead of answering her query promptly as it usually does, the search results on Google displayed “Suicide Helpline Numbers”, making her rethink the drastic step she was taking.
The girl ended up taking google’s suggestion and dialled one of the numbers, which was answered by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jitendra Kumar Sahni, who managed to talk her out of it.

As he said in his statement,

“On January 3rd, I got a call from the girl on my public number. She was quite nervous and was about to end her life. She told me she had even searched how to kill herself on Google. Among the search results, she told me, she found my number. I heard her out and told her to come to my office so we could talk about it in detail.”

The girl did come to the DIG’s office, where she told her story. The DIG then asked the station officer of the women’s police station to take charge of the matter, and also offer the girl counsel.
They also got in touch with the boy and talked to the couple in order to discuss their options for a better future.

This isn’t the first instance of technology helping save lives.

Last year, Instagram added a new feature that allows users to anonymously report a post that might indicate that the owner is battling with eating disorders, depression or suicidal thoughts as part of its ‘#Perfectly Me’ initiative.

When a post is reported, the owner receives a message saying, “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.”

To ensure that help is made available efficiently, the feature then provides the owner with options like talking to a Friend and contacting a local Help-Line.

For people in distress, this serves as an important reminder that they are not alone and that there are people out there who care about them. It’s great that technology is evolving to a degree where it can actually make a significant difference to people’s lives and promote a culture of support and positivity that we are so desperately in need of.

Kudos to Google!

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Amanda Francesca Mendonça

After spending pretty much all of my teen years waiting for a Hogwarts letter that never came, I gave up and settled for being a wizard with words instead. A hopeless romantic, when I’m not penning down short stories, I’m busy imagining my own happily ever after.

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