Sports trainees at a laughter session at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Laughter may be the best medicine, but is it enough to prevent one from ending one’s life?
The four-year-old Jamshedpur Laughter Club (JLC) believes so and has thus decided to use laughter as an antidote to prevent suicide bids by students in the steel city.
The effort is laudable considering the alarming number of suicides in Jamshedpur — 208 in 2012, of whom 32 were students — a trend that has earned it the “suicide capital of the state” tag.
According to data furnished by Jeevan, a social organisation working in the field of suicide prevention for the last six years, the percentage of students committing suicide in 2012 was 16.4 (the national average is yet to be ascertained).
In 2011, the percentage of students committing suicide in the city was 19 against a national average of 5.3.
Founder and convenor of JLC Y.V. Rajsekhar (59), also an employee of Tata Steel associated with the sports department, said they would be targeting city-based schools and colleges for laughter sessions in 2013.
“Initially we have decided to interact with 45 schools taking part in various sports activities under the aegis of Jamshedpur Old Girls’ and Guys’ Association. The sessions would be conducted by our trained members on Saturdays or Sundays depending on the school itinerary. It is very simple and students would be encouraged to do it themselves after a few days,” said Rajsekhar.
A beginning has already been made with introductory sessions at Mother’s Home in Jawaharnagar and Al Hera Library in Mango.
The JLC in a short span has witnessed a rapid growth in the number of members — 450 as on January 10, 2013. It organises half hour sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at JRD Tata Sports Complex and also at Gandhi Maidan in Mango.
Rajsekhar, who can exhibit more than 16 kinds of laughter, said the exercise had resulted in improved concentration and performance in sportspersons and getting rid of hypertension and other ailments in others.
“It is a kind of yoga which can be used to get rid of depression,” Rajsekhar claimed.
The JLC has also decided to make people aware about the benefits of laughter and the existence of such a club in the city through public announcements.
International basketball coach and an officer with Tata Steel sports department J.P. Singh admitted that few trainees of the basketball training centre had shown improved concentration and overcome behavioural problems after undergoing such sessions.
City based psychiatrist associated with MGM Hospital Deepak Giri also agreed about the benefits of laughter for those suffering from acute depression.
“Suicidal tendencies, mood swings and work induced tensions can certainly be relieved if not cured after undergoing such sessions. One opts for suicide due to acute depression and it has been proved that after laughter session strained muscles and nerves get relaxed,” said Giri.