Meet to hammer out strategy to prevent suicides

A three-day conference that got underway in the city on suicide prevention will look at developing a national suicide prevention strategy.

“National suicide prevention should focus on the vulnerable, young and women. We must reduce access to pesticides as 60% of suicides happen in the semi-arid regions of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” said Lakshmi Vijayakumar, whose NGO, Sneha, is celebrating its 33rd anniversary on Saturday.

“Apart from stifling access to pesticides, it is also necessary to reduce alcohol availability and consumption as about 30% of suicides are caused by alcohol,” she further added.

A couple of months ago, Dr. Lakshmi drafted a strategy which the Central government has circulated to stakeholders for their comments.

On Sunday, Union Health Ministry officials will participate in a session to discuss strategies of suicide prevention. This will include identifying ways to up-skill mental health professionals in handling suicidal tendencies in the population.

Psychiatric experts from different parts of the world will teach postgraduates and psychiatrists in recognising suicidal tendencies.

The expert has called for educating mediapersons on the portrayal of suicides. She has also suggested that students be taught resilience to face failure and foster help-seeking tendency.

Since suicides among women was higher, it was important to empower them through education and improve their economic well-being, she said. Health workers should be taught to identify suicidal tendencies and refer them to prevent suicide, she added.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former West Bengal Governor, said several reasons led a person to consider suicide and it could take several forms. The very system of grading and the extraordinary value attached to achievement, to excel, were all putting pressure on young minds, he opined.

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