Marginal increase in number of calls to suicide counselling centre

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: There has been a marginal increase in the number of calls to Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre over the past one year.

The number of calls has gone up from 2,228 in the first half of 2008 to 2,410 in the corresponding period this year. Of this, about 20 per cent of the calls were from youngsters, said Shanti, director of the Centre. Of late, more youngsters have begun seeking help of the centre. Besides increasing stress level, job losses due to the economic slowdown was also one of the key reasons behind an increase in the number of calls.

To create awareness among school and college students, the centre plans to conduct more stress management programmes this year. In schools, these programmes are aimed at class X and XII students. About 100 sessions covering topics such as how to cope with stress are conducted every year in various schools across the State, she said.

“More information technology companies and self help groups are approaching us to conduct programmes on suicide prevention. We organise such programmes regularly in about 10 IT companies,” Ms.Shanti said.

Sneha has 50 volunteers who would be willing to help people in need of emotional support through e-mail ( >help@snehaindia.org) or over phone - 24640050 or 24640060. People may also visit the centre, located at 11, Park View Road, R.A. Puram.

“As we are expanding with outreach programmes, we are in need of more volunteers. Those who are over 20 years of age, residents of Chennai, able to spend four hours once a week at the centre may apply. The volunteers would undergo training after their selection,” she added.

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