Pune: Suicide prevention helpline reports rise in calls

An NGO in Pune has witnessed an alarming rise in the number of calls being received by it. With the focus on preventing suicide, psychiatrists have said that family members and friends need to reach out to people who are feeling suicidal or are going through a rough period emotionally. A nurturing and caring family is important to prevent suicide cases

Pune: Suicide prevention helpline reports rise in calls

  • While the rate of suicide is rising in India, a helpline for suicide prevention in Pune has seen steep rise in calls its helpline number.
  • The largest numbers of calls are from people who belong to the age group of 15 to 25.

‘Connecting NGO’ has been running a helpline for suicide prevention since the last ten years. Due to the rise in suicide cases it has extended the timing of the helpline from Tuesday onwards.

The statistics revealed by the NGO says it has been getting around 12 calls every day, while around five years back they used to just get 3 to 5 calls per day. Psychiatrists working with the helpline have noticed peculiar causes for the rise in the number of suicide cases.

Dr Ulhas Luktuke, a senior psychiatrist from Pune, associated with the helpline, said, “We are witnessing depression and self-harm behaviour among school kids due to academic pressure. The reasons for rise in suicide among youngsters are due to exam pressure, bullying, ragging on college or school campuses and alcohol addiction etc. Looking at the wide range of issues concerning and affecting the emotional well being of teenagers, there is a serious need to reach out to them.”

Viren Rajput, a volunteer working with the helpline said, “In the last five years, the helpline has witnessed steep rise in the number of calls. The calls rose during the period of examinations which underlines that the students are affected by academic pressures.”

The helpline number is 18002094353 available for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and are in emotional distress. The helpline is open daily from 12 pm to 8 pm.

Statistics regarding suicides in India:

  • Between 1987 and 2007, the suicide rate increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000.
  • About 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India.
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, the age of standardised suicide rate in India is 16.4 per 100,000 for women (the 6th highest in the world) and 25.8 for men (ranking 22nd in the world).

Dr Om Prakash, Associate Professor, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) said, “The WHO statistics state the number of suicides in India are twice than the global rates. People should work towards prevention of teenager’s suicides. A nurturing and caring family is important to prevent suicide cases. Identifying depression is crucial. Appointing school counsellors is also important.”