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Counselling best way to prevent suicides: official

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For people’s welfare: District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy (second from left) inaugurating the workshop on suicide prevention in Udupi on Thursday.
For people’s welfare: District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy (second from left) inaugurating the workshop on suicide prevention in Udupi on Thursday.

Staff Correspondent

Function to mark World Suicide Prevention Day held in Udupi

Social, cultural factors responsible for high suicide rate

Over 1.22 lakh persons committed suicide in India in 2007

Udupi: District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy said on Thursday that counselling was one of the best methods to prevent suicide.

He was speaking after inaugurating a workshop on suicide prevention to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, here. The workshop was jointly organised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), District Government Hospital and other organisations.

Dr. Bairy said that in the Human Development Index Report prepared in 2007, of every one lakh population in the district, 27 persons committed suicide. But this report was prepared based on the figures provided by the Police Department. The actual figures were likely to be higher than this owing to under-reporting of suicide cases. Social, cultural and other factors were responsible for a high suicide rate in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, which were comparable to that of Kerala, he said.

Udupi was one of the 13 districts selected by the Union Government to launch an awareness campaign regarding mental health. So far, the Government had given importance to prevention of contagious diseases, but it had now shifted its focus to non-contagious ailments such as diabetes, mental health and others, Dr. Bairy said.

Presiding over the inaugural function, psychiatrist P.V. Bhandary said that there were many myths about suicide. A commonly held misconception was that a person who constantly threatened or spoke about committing suicide would not commit it. Alcoholism, epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia were among the factors, which led to suicide. Some of those infected with HIV had suicidal tendencies, he said.

Tracing a mental disorder was key to providing treatment to it. Junior health workers in Udupi district were playing a vital role in referring a large number of patients with mental problems to psychiatrists. The primary health centres too were giving importance to tackling mental health problems, Dr. Bhandary said.

In his welcome address, psychiatrist Virupaksha Devaramane said that over 1.22 lakh persons had committed suicide in the country in 2007. The highest incidence of suicide was in the age-group of 14 to 20 years. The International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) observed September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day was: Suicide Prevention in different cultures, he said.

Chief Trustee of IMA Charitable Trust V.L. Nayak and District Planning Officer of NRHM Nagabhushan Udupa were present.

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