Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Incorporating stress management techniques into school curricula, appointing counsellors, training teachers to identify students at risk of harming themselves, and the hotline can help prevent youth suicides .
In an interview with the Free Press, senior psychiatrist Dr Satyakant Trivedi said these and other measures could be among the recommendations to be made by the government-appointed suicide prevention task force. State, for the development of a suicide prevention policy. for the state. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to take an initiative in this regard.
Dr. Trivedi, a long-time advocate for the development of suicide prevention policy, is secretary of the working group, which includes social workers, lawyers and sociologists among others. Six sub-committees have been formed to look into different dimensions of the issue, which will submit their reports to the task force, which in turn will make its recommendations to the state government within three months.
Dr Trivedi said that after road accidents, suicides are the second leading cause of death in the 15-50 age group, the most productive segment of the population. Of those who commit suicide, 8% are students. “And suicides are perfectly preventable,” he said.
Dr Trivedi said that while schools placed a high value on academics and the physical health of students, mental health was rarely discussed. “Academic stress, born of fierce competition, is the leading cause of suicide among school children. At the same time, it is also true that among the thousands of students who fail exams or obtain lower grades than they expected, do not end their lives. Only a few do. It means some have a mechanism to deal with stress, setbacks and disappointments, while others don’t,” he said.
Dr Trivedi said the number of psychologists and psychiatrists is limited so we need to develop a mechanism in schools to identify vulnerable students and counsel them, he said.
Dr. Trivedi said suicide is a multisectoral and multidimensional problem. “The reasons for suicides can be social, economic and psychological. But the key to solving the problem is to ensure suicide is not an option for those facing stress of any kind,” he said.
He said one way may be to limit access to means of suicide such as poisonous substances, insecticides, firearms, etc. Better communication within the family can also help. The spirit physician said that religious and spiritual leaders can also be of immense help. “In the face of adversity, issues of stress, religion can be a powerful coping mechanism,” he said. Likewise, NGOs, social activists, the police and the media also have a role to play in preventing suicides.
He said an awareness campaign on mental health would go a long way in curbing the tendency to self-harm. “People should realize that like the body, the mind can also get sick and illnesses of the mind can be treated. They should also know when to seek professional help,” he said.
He said controlling suicides would also reduce violence in society. “He who tends to harm himself can also harm others,” he said.
Dr Trivedi said the task force would also study best practices in suicide prevention around the world and adapt them to Indian conditions.
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