The bedroom of Wang is dim and there is silence. The only source of sound is the click of a mouse and a keyboard. Not being able to live a normal life, as well as, work properly for almost ten years because of social phobia, the internet is his only connection to the outside world. His life was even saved by it.
Mister Wang had been relying on his relatives to leave food in his front-yard every other week since he could not do this himself as it might involve interaction with other humans by phone. He had thought of committing suicide in the spring but hesitated. Scared of drying, but also scared of living, he shared his misery on Weibo, which is a famous social platform like Twitter in China.
Soon after he shared his misery, he received a message from a stranger asking if he was ok. The stranger further asked if he wanted to talk to him.
Wang does not live with his family. He is used to living alone in his late 20s and resides in a small town that is located in northern China. His parents are working in one of the biggest cities in the country. When Wang received the message, he was shocked to know that there was someone somewhere in the world who cared for him.
Since then, the stranger and Wang are friends. It later turned out that the stranger is a psychological consultant. She found Wang with the help of an Artificial Intelligence program, the Tree Hole bot, that detects suicidal intentions on Weibo and then sends alerts to around 600 psychological consultants, scholars, as well as, volunteers who want to reach out and help those in trouble.
This program was launched in last year’s July, and the team has been successful in preventing over a thousand cases of suicides.