World Suicide Prevention Day takes place each year on September 10th, an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Preventionand endorsed by the World Health Organization.
Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt.
Each day we come across news report of someone committing suicide somewhere. The official figures are alarming and increasing day by day. In the year 2015 our country lost 1,33,623, to suicide, which indicates an increase of 10.6% in suicides than the previous year.
The highest incidents of suicides were reported in Maharashtra, 16,970, followed by Tamil Nadu 15,777 and WEST BENGAL 14,602.
In order to help the people in this ambivalent frame of mind, a movement was started to prevent suicides initiated by Rev. Chad Varah in UK, which later spread all over the world including India. Befrienders International was established by him in 1974. This in turn is known as BFRIENDERS WORLDWIDE today.. Recognizing this need in India Dr. Lakshmi Vijaykumar a Psychiatrist by profession started Sneha in Chennai in 1992. Today there are 16 such Centres all over India, who follow the same charter and training module as Befreinders Worldwide. The trained volunteers give emotional support to people in crisis while maintaining total confidentiality and complete anonymity of the caller. This service is completely free of cost. Befrienders India is a non political and non religious organization.
Over past twenty five years lakhs of people have reached out to various centres of Befrienders India through telephone help lines, emails, personal visits to the centres and letters, for seeking help during the time of crises in their lives.
Each one of these individuals is part of a community. Some may have a network of family, friends and work colleagues or school mates. While some may be quite isolated. Regardless of the circumstances, communities have an important role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable.
Lifeline Foundation a member of Befrienders India has been serving the people of Kolkata for the past 21 years. It operates from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. The Volunteers give emotional support to the Callers who may be depressed, distressed or suicidal. The callers identity is not asked for and whatever they share remains completely confidential.
This year’s theme on World suicide Prevention Day is TAKE A MINUTE, CHANGE A LIFE. As members of communities, it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling to cope with stress in their lives. They need to be encouraged to speak about what is worrying them and thereby giving them an opportunity to vent. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference. If there is anyone you are concerned about, DON’T WAIT. Take a minute to reach out to them. It could change their life.