Outlive is a suicide prevention program for engaging and enabling young people to address urban youth suicides in India.
India accounts for 36.6% of world suicides in women and 24.4% of suicides in men. Suicide is also the leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 30 years (1st among women and 2nd among men).
Suicide is a complex issue. Often there isn’t one cause but a combination of different factors that may lead to distress and suicide. Triggers such as family conflicts, break-ups, exam-related stress, emotional and sexual abuse, physical violence, caste and gender-based discrimination, addiction, etc. when combined with stigma, mental health problems or lack of access to support can lead to suicides in young people.
We understand that one size doesn’t fit all and there is no single solution for suicide prevention. To prevent youth suicides, we require different approaches that address problems experienced by young people.
How are we addressing the issue?
Outlive is a four-year (2020-2024) youth suicide prevention program led by the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, in collaboration with Sangath and Quicksand Design Studio.
Outlive addresses urban youth suicide in India by engaging young people between the ages of 18-24, in particular young people with experiences related to suicide or self-harm, distress or mental health problems and belonging to marginalised communities in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
Through a participatory and human-centred design approach, Outlive has engaged with young people to co-develop three suicide prevention interventions:
- A public engagement campaign on youth suicide prevention that entails sharing resources (in English, Hindi & Marathi) to increase awareness and reduce stigma and discrimination attached to the issue.
- A network of peer supporters trained to provide emotional support to youth experiencing distress or having thoughts of ending their life, using an anonymous chat-based platform.
- A one-year fellowship programme to train 10 Youth Advocates to engage with policymakers and influence policy processes for youth suicide prevention.
What is the potential impact?
Through Outlive’s suicide prevention activities, we expect the following impact:
- There will be an increased awareness about suicide prevention and mental health among young people.
- Young people will have access to rights-based peer-led suicide prevention support services.
- Young people will actively engage with policymakers and influence policy processes for suicide prevention.
Where have we reached?
Between 2020-21, our team held consultations and co-design workshops with over 50 young people to understand their experiences and ideas on youth suicide prevention. The group of participants included English-, Hindi-, and Marathi-speaking youth from diverse backgrounds across Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. Based on their ideas and feedback, Outlive has co-developed its suicide prevention interventions.
1. Public engagement intervention: We have developed a public engagement intervention based on young people’s suggestions and ideas. As part of the intervention, we engage with young people through public events, awareness workshops, and social media campaigns to encourage conversations on suicide prevention.
Outlive’s public events include panel discussions, talks, film screenings, and art exhibitions. These help facilitate conversations and improve awareness about youth suicide prevention. We engage with young people through large-hall sensitisation sessions and interactive workshops aimed at building participants’ literacy and awareness on suicide prevention strategies, how to cope with distress, and resources for seeking help in crisis situations.
Till March 2023, we have reached out to over 2800 young people through these public events, held in partnership with community-based organisations and colleges across Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.
Outlive has also launched a myth busting poster campaign on social media and across college campuses to help break common misconceptions and end the shame and stigma associated with suicide. The team has created psychoeducational resources on understanding suicide, helping oneself, and how one can support a person who is dealing with thoughts of suicide. These myth busting posters and resources are available on Outlive’s website in English, Hindi, and Marathi. We also invite stories of lived experiences to highlight the importance of talking openly about suicide and seeking help, challenging stigma and promoting recovery. A series of young people’s stories are available on Outlive’s website as video films and written blogs.
2. Peer support programme: We have developed a peer support programme in consultation with suicide prevention experts, mental health professionals, and young people with lived experience of suicide and mental health problems. This programme trains youth volunteers between the ages of 18-24 years to provide online chat-based emotional support to young people experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of suicide. Outlive’s peer supporters are mentored by Outlive peer mentors through individual and group mentoring. Till June 2023, 35 young people have completed the peer support training.
Based on inputs from young people and research, we have also developed Outlive Chat – a fully anonymous, free-of-cost online platform for young people in distress to connect with a trained peer supporter and access chat-based emotional support. Outlive Chat will soon be rolled out across Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.
3. Youth Advocacy for Suicide Prevention Fellowship Programme: Outlive’s Youth Advocacy for Suicide Prevention (YASP) Fellowship Programme builds capacities of young people to enable them to engage with policymakers and influence policy processes on youth suicide prevention within their own communities. The Fellows receive foundational training on youth advocacy for suicide prevention through immersive, experiential workshops. In addition to a stipend of INR 50,000, they also receive individual mentorship from experts working in mental health and suicide prevention to design and implement their advocacy plan.
The first cohort was launched in April 2023 with a diverse and dynamic group of 11 young people from marginalised communities across Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.
Soumitra Pathare, Centre Mental Health Law & Policy, ILS, Pune
Pattie Gonsalves, Sangath, Goa
Sweta Pal, Sangath, Goa
Avinash Kumar, Quicksand Design Studio
Funders & Partners
Comic Relief, UK
10to19: Dasra Adolescents Collaborative
Quicksand Design Studio