Phone A Friend: Google Search Now Automatically Shows A Crisis Hotline For Anyone Searching For Mental Health Support
You'll make it through, okay?
At any time you need help, someone is waiting at the other end of the line.
Now, every time a Google search of suicide-related topics is made, Google automatically flashes the Philippines' biggest crisis and mental health support hotline provided by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) at the top of search results.
It's a project that the Department of Health, NCMH, and Google have all worked together to achieve during these trying times when the need for mental health support is at an all-time high. And, never forget—these are trying times for everyone; no one is alone in their struggles, and yours are just as valid as everyone else's. There is no struggle or pain too small or too trivial for a helpful phone call.
In 2020 alone, the NCMH recorded a spike in the number of phone calls made to its crisis hotline with many callers reporting depression-related concerns. From an estimate of 80 monthly calls, the number swelled to 400 calls with about 50 of them containing suicide-related conversations.
Increased mental health concerns are strongly linked to the increased number of calls made, as anxiety, depression, feelings of loneliness, helplessness and isolation, fatigue and other difficult-to-process emotions are brought to the forefront by the COVID crisis.
The pandemic is clearly not only a burden on physical health, but it also affects psychological, emotional, and even spiritual well-being, too—all the more that Filipinos can be assured that when the going gets tough, the tough get going with the right kind of help from accessible professionals, free of charge.
"As the pandemic continues to affect people's mental well-being, we want to help by partnering with the Department of Health's National Center for Mental Health to connect Filipinos to immediately accessible and reliable information online through Google Search," says Google country director for the Philippines, Bernadette Nacario.
She echoes the words of Frances Prescilla Cuevas, DOH head for the National Mental Health Program, who emphasizes that mental health services must be made available to more and more Filipinos.
"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," Bernadette continues.
All phone calls made to the NCMH crisis hotline will be kept confidential. Trained mental health professionals receive calls and provide necessary counseling and additional support when appropriate.
NCMH's crisis hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The NCMH crisis hotline is 0966 3514518, and really, there's no harm in choosing to save the number on your device for when you might need it.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline through the following hotlines: toll-free Luzon-wide landline (1553), Globe and Touch Mobile (0966 3514518 and 0917 8998727), or Smart, Sun, and TNT (0908 6392672).
Opening images from Unplash and Pexels