Published On: Sun, Sep 10th, 2017

Life is meant to be lived

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Fourteen-year-old Aprajita’s relationship issues had hit her hard; nothing was working for her – her grades went down drastically, parents shunned her for she had a ‘boyfriend’ and friends too abandoned her. She was about to take the extreme step, when a letter intercepted by a friend saved her life. “Cuts on her body; letters and e-mails threatening suicide were the signs of grave depression, we were told by the counsellor we got in touch with,” shares her working mum. The situation demanded swift action. It took six months of constants efforts and a support network of family, friends, teachers and mentors that one precious life was saved.

“Preventing suicide is not one man’s job,” admits her mother, who labels those days as the darkest period of her life. “Aprajita could have been one short news item on a local pullout under ‘Teen commits suicide’ had a friend of hers not intercepted the letter just in time. For those six months we all – everyone around her — made a kind of safety net till she got her reasoning back and also sound emotional state.”

Loneliness is rising like an endemic and is one of the many factors leading to suicides. Tricity isn’t untouched by it. Every few days, there are reports of individuals taking their own lives and sadly these incidents cut across the social status, age brackets and educational qualifications.

Sadly, as the number of friends; likes and hugs go up on social network platforms, real relationships are going down! Seema Sharma, psychologist, has seen this alienation increasingly, “As the world is evolving, we are losing close ties. No more is the teacher’s commitment to students the same. Caught in our own pressures, children get a rough deal.”

Tell-tale signs

Nobody says ‘I am going to kill myself’ without meaning to. If you hear a child/friend/workmate say it, never laugh it off or brush aside the matter. Address it. Go pro-active if you see:

  • Preoccupation with death
  • Hopelessness – no reason to live
  • Searching online on how to kill self
  • Stocking pills or buying a weapon
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Sudden change in eating/sleeping habits
  • Extreme mood swings from very sad to very happy
  • Suddenly going very calm
  • Giving away possessions, saying goodbyes, making a will

If you know someone in crisis

Connect, communicate, care — is the three-pronged approach one needs to adopt. Reach out to the person, talk. “Try to assess if the person in question has the intention, plan and means (like a weapon) or the date set,” offers psychologist Puja Gupta. Contrary to popular notion, the suicidal person wants to talk about it and isn’t crazy, but so hurt that he or she sees only deliverance in suicide. Many a psychiatric facilities in the West have stringent suicide watch programmes. Talking, empathising; suggesting a positive lifestyle change and keeping company can help significantly.

If you are inching towards it

In India still, admitting that you are ‘depressed’ earns a social stigma. But yet there are ways to get out of it. Pick up a hobby and invest in relationships – is the two-fold route that counsellor Punita Singh swears by. “Such is an obsession to look ‘cool’ on social media that one now ‘picks’ glamorous people – outings with whom would be your picture postcards for all to see. Sadly, do-gooders seldom dress nice and hang out at pubs and bars.” Investing in a hobby is even better.

Hrithik, KJo campaign 

Bollywood celebrities Karan Johar and Hrithik Roshan have come out in support of preventing suicide in the country on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day 2017. Hrithik on Saturday shared a link of a video, which depicted that one should listen to a person for saving lives.“On World Suicide Prevention Day, make a pledge to listen, and save a life,” Hrithik captioned the video. Karan Johar also shared the same link and wrote a similar caption for the video. IANS

Keep kids busy

“Never shrug odd suicide threats as teenage melodrama,” warns psychologist Puja Gupta. According to her, what works remarkably well with children is sports. “Team involvement helps children foster bonds, keep them away from depression. Sports exhaust one physically and releases endorphins — the happy harmones. “However, let games be games and don’t make it another competitive battle aiming at medals,” she warns. “Let them be kids and enjoy the game.”

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