AT BJ Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, Manas Samwad psychological helpline has started receiving two to three calls daily from individuals who have attempted suicide — by hanging, slashing their wrists or consuming poison.
“In the last one month, we got 500 calls seeking help,” said Dr Niteen Abhivant, head of the Department of Psychiatry at BJ Medical College.
Approximately, in the last six months, the helpline 020-26127331 has received more than 2,500 calls and, according to Dr Abhivant, frequency of calls has increased over the past month. “Daily, we receive two to three calls from people with suicidal thoughts. They are depressed and, while talking to us, say it is better to die than keep living. We speak with them and tell them the reality, that a suicide happens as a person has lost hope, and how there is a need to try and explore different options…” Dr Abhivant said, adding that the reasons behind such thoughts are varied but mostly related to loss of income.
While a diagnosis is not done over the telephone, the officials at the department of psychiatry said if counselling did not work, people were asked to report to the out-patient department. “There were 15 such patients with suicidal tendency, who reported to the OPD in September,” he added.
September was observed as suicide prevention month and with October 10 now being celebrated as World Mental Health Day, a series of events have been organised at the government medical college.
Maharashtra Institute of Mental Health, Pune, and the college are jointly organising ‘World Mental Health Awareness Week 2020’ from October 5 to 10.
During this week, various activities and competitions to raise awareness on mental health will be organised. The theme is ‘Mental health for all: Greater investment-greater access’.
“Various activities will be undertaken with safety precautions and norms of distancing to minimise risk of the spread of infection. Participants have to fill up the participation form online and submit it through link https://ee.humanitarianresponse.info/x/mg5elCy4,” said Dr Ajay Chandanwale, joint director of medical education and research.
‘Move for Mental Health: Let’s invest’ by WHO
Close to one billion people are living with a mental disorder, three million people die every year from harmful use of alcohol, and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by Covid-19 , which has had further impact on people’s mental health. This year’s World Mental Health Day campaign, with the slogan, ‘Move for mental health: Let’s invest’, will highlight actions that can be taken at all levels to increase investment in mental health at individual level, taking personal action that supports your own mental health and that of friends, family and the community; at the national level, establishing or scaling up mental health services; and at the global level, investing in global programmes to promote mental health.
An event has been planned on October 10 with participation of celebrities, advocates and world leaders, read a statement from WHO. New guidelines from the WHO recommend a set of psychosocial interventions to promote mental health and prevent mental health conditions among adolescents, aged 10 to 19 years.
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