Industry Research : Suicide Prevention Helpline Witnessing Rise Every Year
Nitya Patel (name changed) had an inter-caste marriage. However, when her rosy dreams of a life happily ever after crumbled under the pressure of the reality of marriage, she contemplated ending it all. But a call that Nitya made to a suicide prevention helpline number persuaded her to step back.
Today, Nitya lives with her husband in what anyone would describe as a happy marriage.
Nitya was among the lucky few who got help before she took the extreme step. Even as overall prosperity increases, an increasing number of people are finding themselves on the edge. If the number of calls made to a suicide prevention helpline run by NGO Saath is any indication, there is a 25% rise every year in the number of people contemplating suicide.
Interestingly, more men than women call up on the helpline. In the year 2012-13, the NGO addressed 190 cases of those planning to take the drastic step, managed to befriend them and ensured that a life was not snuffed out.
"On an average we have witnessed 25% rise in those seeking help either by visiting our centre or calling up the helpline," said Alkesh Patel, clinical psychologist with Saath.
Of the 190 cases, 121 are related to men seeking help.
Patel said that in case of men it is often family problems that push them to the brink while for women, the driving factors are marriage and financial matters. "Among the cases we get, finance and family top the list of factors that push people to the edge," said Patel. He said that 10% of the cases involve mental illness and related suicidal tendencies.
Agreeing with Patel, Dr Bhavesh Lakdawala, assistant professor, department of psychiatry, BJ Medical College said, "Mental-illness induced suicide is a fact but often family members fail to read the warning signs for lack of awareness."
He further added that the well-off are as prone to mental-illness and related suicide as anyone else.
"In fact, they are more prone to it as they are often under tremendous pressure in the rat race to get ahead. Moreover, it is a myth that extreme material well-being brings with it contentment. Often, the case is the opposite," said Dr Lakdawala.
Patel added that in today’s world, people want everything. "Everybody wants everything. Whether they deserve it, whether they have the capability to earn it are questions no one wants to consider. This is particularly the case with youngsters," he said.
The youngest person the NGO befriended (a term they use instead of counseling) was a boy aged below 15.
Lakdawala said that most of the people who contemplate suicide happen to be in the age group of 20-45.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, August 5, 2013