Active Minds at Ithaca College is petitioning Google Inc. for a greater, and more prominent inclusion of mental health resources upon searching for terms that could imply that a person needs help. There are three main components to our appeal, all of which we believe are essential in protecting the mental health of Google’s vast body of users.
1. On Tumblr.com, a microblogging platform and social networking website, when users search for potentially harmful terms such as “suicide,” and “pro-ana,” the screen fades, still displaying search results behind it, and a dialog box emerges offering various mental health resources available for those who may be interested or in need. The window reads, “If you or someone you know is dealing with an eating disorder, self harm issues, or suicidal thoughts, please visit our Counseling & Prevention Resources page for a list of services that may be able to help.” It then requires the user to select “dismiss” before continuing to their results. This system offers people potentially in need resources that could be beneficial to them or even save their life, while still maintaining a level of transparency over search results for lack of censorship. While we understand the Google already provides a hotline for the “suicide” search, we believe the alternate system described would be most beneficial. We would like Google Inc. to implement this, or a system resembling it, to their search results for the benefit of its users.
2. The search result window, along with “dismiss,” includes a “Tell me more” option.
If you choose the latter, you are brought to a page of Counseling and Prevention Resources. This is a relatively expansive list of free and confidential resources organized by country. This is a page we would like to see Google incorporate, and have available to anyone who might be struggling with various mental health issues.
3. Google Inc. will need a list of potentially triggering search terms to implement the prior two suggestions. The following is a list of these search terms, and we encourage readers to include their own in the comment section.
· Eating Disorder
· Fastest Ways to Kill Yourself
· How to Kill Yourself
· How to Stop Cutting
· How to Tie a Noose
· I Want to Die
· Kill Yourself
· Starve Yourself
According to the Active Minds National website, 1100 college students die by suicide each year. These are the same students using the Google search engine on a daily basis for their classwork. Your support could potentially change or even save the lives of people all over the world.