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Cry for help

JENCY SAMUEL

In an attempt to create awareness, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared September 10 as Suicide Prevention Day.

Eight-year old Kumar* is scared to go out with his mother. Two years ago, his mother Sarala*, took him to Puduchery beach, mixed poison in his favourite sweet and asked him to eat it. Sensing something amiss, Kumar began to cry. The police intervened and brought them back to Chennai. Sarala had separated from her abusive husband. Unable to stand the taunts at home and propositions at her work place, she decided to end their lives. Two years later, Kumar remains traumatised and Sarala confesses that suicidal thoughts persist.

Latha* was all set to start the career of her choice. Only when she set herself on fire, did her family know that she was severely depressed. The very words, “Please save me, doctor”, died on her lips.

A wish to live and an urge to die, — says P. V. Sankaranarayanan, as he explains the ambivalent emotions of a person who feels suicidal. He is the Secretary of Befrienders India that works towards suicide prevention.

Many reasons

Suicide is a problem that can be prevented and that is why the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared September 10 as Suicide Prevention Day in 2003.

Dr. Vijay Nagaswami, Psychotherapist and Relationships Consultant, attributes the increase in the number of suicides to our stressful lives, frustration and decreasing tolerance. “When a person is depressed, the level of serotonin, a chemical messenger that transmits signals between nerve cells becomes low in the part of the brain that controls the mood. When the depression is severe, it might lead a person to suicide,” he says.

“Though suicide is an impulsive decision taken on the spur of the moment, the suicidal thought would have persisted for a while. And generally through their words or actions, they indicate that they are depressed,” says Sankaranarayanan.

Sankaranarayanan says, “Suicide is a multi-dimensional problem. Of all suicides, 23 per cent are due to family problems which in turn are social problems. Depressed people see it as an option and not as a solution. The most important thing is it takes a lot of courage to do away with your life. It is neither a courageous act nor a cowardly act, but an emotional cry for help.” Dr. Nagaswami adds: “In other words, the intention may have been more a cry for help than to end life, but unintentionally they end up dead.”

* Names have been changed to protect privacy

Suicide Prevention Support Centres

CHENNAI: Sneha

Ph: 044-28115050

Email: sneha_ft@vsnl.net

NEW DELHI: Sumaitri

Ph: 011- 3710763

MUMBAI: Samaritans

Ph: 022-23073451

Email: smaritns@vsnl.com

PUDUCHERY: Maitreyi

Ph: 0413 – 2339999

Email: bimaitreyi@rediffmail.com

KOCHI: Maithri

Ph: 0484-2396272

NAVI MUMBAI: Aasra

Ph: 022-27546669

Email: aasrahelpline@yahoo.com

AHMEDABAD: Saath

Ph: 079-6305544

Email: saakul@wilnetonline.net

SECUNDERABAD: Roshni

Ph: 040-7904646/7902322

Email: bi_roshni@yahoo.com

KOLKATA: Lifeline

Ph: 033-24745255/ 24745886

Email: lifefoun@cal.vsnl.net.in

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