Most of the HCI work on mental health is based on the Western metaphysical definition of mind that is less applicable outside the West. This paper focuses on this issue and critically examines “Kaan Pete Roi” (KPR), a suicide prevention and emotional support helpline in Bangladesh, through an interview study with 20 participants. We find that KPR’s service, grounded in the ‘befriending’ model – originating from the UK and emphasizing non-judgmental active listening without offering direct advice – often struggles to ensure callers’ safety, provide long-term support, and protect volunteers from harassment and distress. We argue that such failures are often rooted in some foundational ideas of the UK-born ‘befriending’ model that underpins the service. Building on Enrique Dussel’s decolonial philosophy, we argue that ‘befriending’ model and its underpinning Western metaphysical ideation of mind carry a colonial impulse, and discuss how community-based approaches may better address the mental health problems in the Global South.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||ACM Journal on Computing and Sustainable Societies|
|State||E-pub ahead of print - Sep 18 2023|
- mental health
- suicide prevention
- crisis helpline