‘People want to end emotional pain, not life’

Read the warning signs, seek help, says NGO working towards suicide prevention; highlights importance of destigmatising mental health illnesses

September 11, 2022 12:17 am | Updated 02:45 am IST - Hyderabad:

Picture used for representational purposes only. File photo

Picture used for representational purposes only. File photo

Intense sadness can turn into depression and depression is often a precursor to suicide, said director of Roshni Suicide Prevention Helpline, Ushasree. She was speaking at a press conference here to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, on Saturday.

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, the theme seeks to remind people that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence in all of us that our actions, no matter how big or small may provide hope to those who are struggling. 

At the press meet, management and volunteers of Roshni spoke about measures to prevent suicides, early interventions and the profound impact that being heard out patiently in times of distress can have. 

If one is suffering from depression, they need intervention of mental healthcare professionals such as psychological counsellors and/or therapists. “If medical intervention is not sought at this stage, the person suffering from depression may develop suicidal ideation,” she said.  

Signs of depression include being withdrawn, feeling worthless, helpless and/or hopeless, developing sudden eating or sleeping problems, frequently crying and feeling lonely, loss of interest in personal grooming, social activities, or any pleasure-seeking activities. 

Stating that suicide is not a wish to die, but a cry for help, Ms.Ushasree said that many people who were set to end their life sought help by calling the helpline. “People want to end emotional pain, not their lives,” she added.

Senior volunteer and trustee at Roshni Trust, Shanti said that experiencing two to three signs for more than three weeks can be considered depression. If one spots those signs in a family member, friend, or a close one, the person should not be asked to distract themselves by focussing more on work or studies, but seek help from a mental healthcare professional, she suggested, added, “They should not be belittled; they should be allowed to vent.” 

Ms.Ushasree said it is important to refrain from stigmatising depression, anxiety, stress, or mental health illness, and that those should be treated as any other physical illness.

Nature of calls

Those dealing with great emotional pain and battling thoughts of self harm can call the Roshni helpline (040-66202000, 66202001), between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on any day for free, confidential and unconditional emotional support. One can also reach them through e-mail (roshnihelp@gmail.com).

Trained volunteers attend the calls and the services are provided free of cost. Some calls last for 90 minutes to two hours or even longer. Ms.Ushasree said confidentiality is always maintained. “We do not ask for personal details such as name or location. We merely lend a patient ear,” she averred. 

Detailing the nature of calls that they attend, the management and volunteers said people who experience issues in relationships, failure in love, marital issues, work pressure, financial issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence, health issues, problems in old age, loneliness, adolescents experiencing effects of hormonal changes, depression, grief, etc. often reach out to Roshni. 

Callers belong to a wide range of professions and backgrounds. “Talking helps, listening heals,” said Akheel Siddiqui, another senior volunteer at the helpline.

Those in distress could seek help and counselling by calling helplines from this link.

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