‘Pudu Yugam’ needs an accessible space and financial support to succeed

Madurai district has earned national recognition for providing the best mental health care. Yet a suicide prevention centre here is struggling to run for want of funds.

The counselling centre- ‘Pudu Yugam’- which was opened with the support of District Mental Health Programme at Sellur in September 2010 is unable to meet overhead costs and demand for its services.

The team of professionals involved in running the centre is relying on individual contributions and has appealed to the district administration, police and various organisations to extend support.

“Our first basic problem is access. As the centre is situated in the Corporation maternity centre at Sellur, it does not have adequate facilities needed for counselling sessions. In the evening hours when individuals come to meet counsellors, the area is dark without proper lighting. We have asked for space in a more accessible location, ” D. Janet Shankar, Coordinator and Head of Department of Medical and Psychiatric Social Work, Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, told The Hindu on Saturday.

The centre is short staffed and unable to cater to visitors. It does not have a telephone. "We interact with the public on our personal mobile phones," she said.

“There are plenty of referral cases coming to us through doctors.