Samaritans team up with Google


Internet search giant Google has teamed up with the Samaritans to provide information to those seeking help for emotional issues.

From today, internet users in Ireland searching online for information about suicide using Google will find the Samaritans helpline number displayed prominently beside search results.

The new feature is intended to help vulnerable people who are at risk of taking their own lives or in distress to easily access emotional support. A highly visible red telephone icon pops up above normal Google Search results when people use a range of search terms related to suicide.

It appears next to text, reading: "Need help? In Ireland, call 1850 60 90 90 Samaritans".

The move follows the successful introduction of the service in the United Kingdom in November last year.

“This is a really important development for vulnerable people in Ireland," said Samaritans director for Ireland Suzanne Costello.

"Since the advent of the internet, people are able to access vast amounts of information about any subject they wish, including suicide. Much material online is helpful, but some of it can be dangerous too. So, it is really important that people are made aware of the help and support they can get from Samaritans, 24 hours a day, if they’re struggling to cope," she added.

The number of deaths by suicide recorded in the State fell to 486 last year, an 8 per cent drop on 2009. However, Ireland still has one of the highest suicide rates in the European Union for those aged between 15 and 24 years of age.