Zindagi’: This helpline is giving hope to people in Kashmir

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Feb 10 (KNO): Amid rise in suicide cases in Kashmir, ‘Zindagi’ helpline in Kashmir is proving a boon for people having suicidal thoughts as such people are being counselled on phone.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Kashmir along with SRO Kashmir issued the first suicide prevention helpline named ‘Zindagi’ last year, proving beneficial for hundreds of people.

The helpline number 18002701008 functional every day from 6 pm to 11 pm is playing an important role in curbing the number of suicide cases.

Dr Zoya, a clinical psychologist who is part of this initiative, told news agency–Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the helpline receives around five to six calls every day.

Initially, the number of distress calls were higher but now it is primarily people who have suicidal thoughts who call.

She said that suicide is an act of killing oneself intentionally when the pain becomes unbearable. “They don’t want to die but they just want to kill the pain. This pain can be caused due to many factors. The most common factors to invoke thoughts of suicide are public humiliation, financial stress, emotional disturbances caused due to family, work pressures, failures and constant domestic abuse,” Dr Zoya said.

According to her, adolescents have become more vulnerable for thoughts of suicide as their prefrontal cortex that is responsible for rational thinking is not well developed. When they go through chronic and consistent stressors they resort to suicidal behaviours, she added.

“The helpline has proved to be beneficial to deal with the stigma as the help is a call away. It is a toll free number where anyone can call and you will be connected to a suicide first aid responder. The responder provides immediate help to deal with thoughts of suicide at that moment and also connects the person with mental health professionals for a holistic treatment,” she said.

Many people consider an act of suicide as a weakness of moral and religious character and that is why people don’t uprightly talk about thoughts of suicide which leads to aggravation of symptoms to an extent that they lose control and make an attempt, the doctor said.

“We need to look at suicide or thoughts of suicide as a mental health illness and help our loved ones to connect to the right help available i.e. connecting to mental health professionals,” Dr Zoya said.

“We need to desensitise our children from early years of life about emotions and how to deal with failures and difficult times besides that educational institutions need to conduct awareness programmes for the same,” she added.

Suicide cases are on rise in J&K and experts consider irresponsible media reporting as one of the causes of suicide contagion who have called for giving the least space to such acts so as to minimise the cases.

They said that reports are made on how, where, when and the condition through which a person who committed suicide was going and those persons who are going through the same condition have suicidal thoughts and this is the way and solution for him which is known as copycat suicide.

The language that sensationalises or normalises suicide include photographs or video footage of the scenes of the place or the method, pictures of the deceased, sharing of suicide notes and videos made before suicide as these may trigger mental health issues in many people and must be avoided, the experts said.

Media should not glamourise suicide but rather provide information about mental health professionals and helpline numbers, they said, adding “Responsible journalism on suicide can prevent such cases to a large extent”—(KNO)

KS Webdesk

Kashmir Scroll is a news agency based in Jammu and Kashmir, at Kashmir Scroll Every report is based on Truth.

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