Suicide is preventable. That was the message at a day-long workshop, organised by NGO Umeed, to generate awareness on why adolescents are prone to suicide.
More than 50 teachers, counsellors, principals and psychologists from the city gathered at the Hotel Pan Asia Continental to share their experiences and discuss ways of dealing with those who have attempted suicide.
Schools like St James’, The Future Foundation, Calcutta International School, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy and Auxilium Convent were represented at the event.
Child counsellor Salony Priya, the founder of Umeed, said schoolchildren needed to be counselled more often.
“Suicide is a cry for help. It is important to understand that each person’s emotional threshold is different. When the pain exceeds the coping mechanism, teenagers are pushed towards suicide,” said Purnima Sahai a psychologist from Delhi, who was one of the speakers.
Parveen Dada Chanji, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, said: “Mothers need to be made aware and teachers more sensitive.”
The day began with a discussion on the factors that make a person vulnerable to suicide. Adolescence is a stage in life when one has to deal with a host of changes within themselves, making teens more susceptible to depression or isolation, the speakers felt.
The participants also discussed how one could detect suicidal tendencies in a child. Such children may appear calmer or more restless, indirectly bid their peer group goodbye, ponder the subject of death or show distaste in life.
Many of the speakers felt that a “worry box” — where children could air their anxieties — in classrooms could help.