The Telegraph e-Paper
The Telegraph
CIMA Gallary

Death wish at its deadliest in year that went by

- Jeevan study says 216 people committed suicide in 2013; tie-up with Tata Steel to beef up campaign

We knew it all along, Jeevan just confirmed it.

Last year registered the highest number of suicides in Jamshedpur in the past six years despite awareness campaigns, launch of helplines and increased participation from schools, parents and the community to check the menace, a survey by Jeevan, a suicide prevention centre in the steel city, has revealed.

The death wish had felled 216 people in 2013 as against 208 in 2012, 206 in 2011, 200 in 2010, 136 in 2009 and 173 in 2008. The reasons, as cited by psychiatrists, vary largely from complicated lifestyle and family problems to aggression and addiction.

M. Ram, director of Jeevan, which received 503 distressed calls in 2013, said at a news meet on Friday: “We undertook a lot of initiatives last year, still the number of suicides went up. It is like a physical problem. No matter how many hospitals and nursing homes come up, diseases are on the rise despite health awareness programmes.”

However, he believes that the figure would have been higher had not they floated the helpline and received the 503 calls. “I would like to believe that had we not attended the calls, more people would have chosen to kill themselves,” Ram said, adding that they had come up with a new helpline, 6555555, in addition to the existing one — 6453841.

The counselling hours are from 10am to 6pm.

Deepak Giri, a psychiatrist at MGM Medical College and Hospital, holds mental illness as a major trigger behind suicides.

According to him, they treated 3,300 patients since the mental clinic opened at the hospital in September 2011. “Mental distress leads to suicide in 90 per cent cases. Those who attempt suicide always have a history. Most times, people don’t talk about it. People do come to the clinic after they have attempted suicide, but later the visits become irregular. I think that we can find a way to tap these cases, we will be able to check suicides to a large extent,” he said.

Jeevan, on its part, has tied up with Tata Steel Urban Services to carry out a number of initiatives this year as well. The two will tap more industries and schools.

Tata Steel has already sent a proposal to Satyanand Yoga Sansthan, a wing of Bihar Yoga Bharati, Munger, for offering yoga lessons to beat stress. “We teach yoga in eight Tata Steel community centres, but it is not specifically related to overcoming stress or tension. We have already written to Satyanand Yoga Sansthan and are waiting for the response. Controlling life loss is a big challenge and we have a long way to go,” said Ravi Shankar Pandey, senior manager of urban services, Tata Steel.

Members of Jeevan speak at a news meet in Jamshedpur on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad