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Mega survey to nail suicide trigger

Jamshedpur is seriously trying to shrug off its suicide city tag even as an ICSE examinee hanged herself at home on Wednesday, just 10 days after an engineering student of NIT took her life on campus.

After sustained campaigns by pro-life outfit Jeevan and corporate major Tata Steel, it is the turn of an educational institution to launch a first-of-its-kind mega survey in the city covering one lakh households to find out what triggers suicides.

Netaji Subhas Group of Institutions, with its corporate office at Sakchi and its management and BEd colleges at Pokhari on NH-33, 15km from the city, will send 250 of its students to carry out a two-month survey starting March 10.

After compiling the findings, a core panel will discuss it with experts to help formulate an action plan against suicides.

In 2012, 208 Jamshedpureans took their own lives. In January 2013, 19 persons killed themselves. In February, NIT engineering student Nimita Kumari hanged herself on the last day of her college fest, sending shock waves in the city. The total February toll will be tabled in March.

Last week, Tata Steel teamed up with Jeevan to fund billboards near schools with helplines. The timing was right — board and entrance exams and their aftermath leave many students with the urge to “end it all”.

On the survey, Netaji Subhas Institute of Business Management dean Nagendra Kumar said they came up with the idea during a campus seminar last week. “We read news on suicides with alarming regularity. We decided to conduct a massive survey across the city using our student talent pool. Around 250 students from MBA, BBA, BCA and BEd colleges of our institution have agreed to volunteer as surveyors. We will start the exercise in March after a seven-day training to our students,” Kumar said.

Psychologists and experts from Calcutta will carry out the sensitisation-cum-training for 250 students. Students will learn how to question relatives, close friends and acquaintances of suicide victims.

The institution will take Jeevan’s help to choose areas that have witnessed the most suicides in the last few years.

“We have a target of covering more than one lakh households in two months. In the first phase, we will cover localities that have seen high incidences of suicides. Jeevan has a compiled the data which will be of use,” the dean said.

The institution’s core committee will then go through the survey report along with experts.

Jeevan director M. Ram welcomed the initiative. “A massive survey is the need of the hour. At Jeevan, we come to know about reasons behind suicides based on media reports. This survey will identify us the causes with inputs from people who were very close to the individuals who took the step,” said Ram.

There is no single reason for suicide. From poor exam results to a failed love affair to money and health problems to even minor tiffs, there may be many triggers. But psychiatrists agree most victims show telltale signs of depression and low self-esteem.