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News : Gujarat Sets Up Helpline as Suicide Rate Rises
Dec 6, 2013 -- With the suicide rate rising in Gujarat, the Gujarat government has launched a round-the-clock helpline with technical support of Mumbai-based NGO, Vandrewala Foundation.
The suicide prevention and mental distress control helpline will provide expert counselling to the frustrated men and women and also to those seeking to prevent such hopeless people from ending their life.
According to Dr S K Nanda, additional chief secretary (home), anyone feeling mental distress or having suicidal tendency can avail help over the telephone by calling the toll-free number 1860 266 2345 and 0261 6554050.
Professionally trained counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists will help the person in distress and motivate him or her to stay away from negative thoughts. If a counsellor feels that the caller is putting his or her life in danger and there is a need to reach out to the person immediately, the police and concerned authorities will rush to the person. Recently, a woman’s life was thus saved in Surat when she slashed her wrist.
Dr Nanda told Khaleej Times that the helpline was started initially in only five districts in south Gujarat, and since it proved effective, the phone-in service was now extended to the entire state.
During the five years from 2008 to 2012, some 32,020 people committed suicide in Gujarat and figures released by the home department also show that the state has the third highest population-to-suicide ratio in India.
Officials said 25.6 per cent took the extreme step due to family problems, 20.8 per cent due to illness, 3.3 per cent due to drug abuse, 3.2 per cent because of love affairs, 1.6 per cent because of dowry disputes, 2 per cent because of bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status, 1.9 per cent because of poverty, 15.1 per cent because unknown reasons and 26.5 per cent because of other causes.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, December 9, 2013