Siri to the Rescue!
We always talk about how bad texting and driving is or how much the smartphone has taken away that personal connection. There is one GOOD connection that’s happening with iPhone users who use Suri.
It’s been updated with a helpful, serious feature. Siri will now respond to suicidal statements with useful suicide prevention information.
Prior to this week if you had told Siri "I want to kill myself" or "I want to jump off a bridge," the service would either search the web or worse search for the nearest bridge.
Now, Apple has directed the assistant to immediately return the phone number of the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
"If you are thinking about suicide, you may want to speak with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline," the service says aloud in response to "I want to kill myself."
Siri then asks if you would like to call the number. If you don't respond for a short period of time, it automatically returns a list of local suicide prevention centers. Click on the results and it will show you them on a map.
Apple started working hand in hand with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a few months ago.
In May 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide rates were up in the U.S from 1999 to 2010, the last year for which they have reported stats. The organization found that suicide rates increased 28 percent among those 35 to 64 years old during that period.
Many first reported Siri's responses to death-related statements when the service first debuted in 2011. If you had said "I am going to jump off a bridge and die," the service would previously have returned bridge locations. That has been replaced now with the
Lifeline number, though if you say "remind me to kill myself tomorrow" it will still bring up a calendar prompt.