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CIMA Gallary

Helpline that can save lives

Taking cue from Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), the state-owned Ranchi Institute of Neuro-psychiatry and Allied Sciences (Rinpas) has come up with a suicide helpline for the mentally distressed.

The toll-free number — 0651-2451058 — will start functioning from Saturday. Counsellors will attend the calls, lend an ear to the problems of the callers and offer solace to prevent them from taking the extreme step.

“Keeping in view the spurt in number of suicide cases in the region, particularly among youths, we decided to launch the helpline. The toll-free number will be run in association with the state social welfare department. We will start receiving calls from 3.30pm on Saturday,” said Amool Ranjan Singh, director of Rinpas.

Singh added that initially, the helpline would be open from 10 in the morning to 5pm for a month.

“However, after a month, we will convert into a 24x7 helpline,” he said.

Two experts — one counsellor and his deputy — will offer advice to the distressed callers.

“But soon, we will be roping in postgraduate students (psychiatry) on a rotational basis,” Singh added.

Earlier on August 27, CIP, Kanke — one of country’s premier mental care centres — launched a 24x7 suicide helpline. Three experts were designated to speak to the callers.

As expected, the numbers — 1800-345-1849 and 0651-2451116 — recorded overwhelming response with the experts attending to as many as 30 calls per day from different cities of Jharkhand like Ranchi, Dhanbad, Daltonganj and Hazaribagh as well as from neighbouring Bihar.

Though the state capital did not ever figure prominently in the National Crime Records Bureau’s bad books, that scenario changed over the past three years as the rate of suicides, mostly among school and college students in the age group of 15 to 25 years, went north.

Recently, Rinpas opened a legal aid centre for patients and their relatives, which is manned by advocates of Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority, on its premises.