Suicide prevention initiative to be launched on April 27

Suicide, according to Nandini Murali, writer and activist, is a word that is strongly associated with stigma, shame and silence. “In the hierarchy of deaths, suicide ranks the least. It is easier to say that someone died of cardiac arrest than acknowledge the suicide because of the intrusive and insensitive questions that follow,” she says.

In a bid to change this situation and provide a safe space for informed conversation about suicide, Dr. Nandini is spearheading an initiative called ‘SPEAK’ with M. S. Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation to touch the lives and families of victims.

Broad set of areas


To be launched on April 27, it will address a broad set of areas revolving around the scarlet letter ‘S.’

It will deal with early identification of people with suicidal thoughts and provide support to them. It will, however, focus its main efforts to help family and friends to cope with a suicide.

About a year ago, Dr. Nandini lost her husband to suicide.

“He was a renowned urologist who had touched several lives but succumbed one year ago. The overwhelming grief taught me about the people who stood by me - my real friends - and others. I had a choice. I could tell people that he lost his life to a disease or health problem or I could tell the truth. Since the truth was more organic, I let people deal with the reality of the situation,” she says.

Having been married for 33 years, the incident left her seeking emotional support and resilience from close family and friends.

She said that the incident fostered a deep understanding of the link between fear and loss.

To change the status quo, Dr. Nandini proposes the introduction of a suicide hotline which would be run by trained volunteers. Awareness campaigns will be held in schools and colleges.

As the first functional feature, a bi-weekly blog will be started and she will post articles about dealing with such a loss. Soon, an on-site support group and a grief retreat programme will also be launched, she says.

As she speaks about this deeply personal initiative, she says that all stakeholders must actively take part in being sensitive and de-stigmatise the word in order to discourage needless deaths. She concludes by saying “until it happened to me, suicide was a far removed issue. It was mostly something that happened to a celebrity or an unfortunate friend. Now, I am actively taking steps to speak about it.”

(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline ‘104’ or Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044 24640050)

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 7:35:22 PM |

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