Suicide is a highly complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. It is a major public health concern that requires a comprehensive multi-layered strategy which is intersectoral in its approach.

To commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2022) and highlight the role of diverse stakeholders such as suicide prevention experts, policy makers, government officials, media, persons with lived experience, and the public at-large in suicide prevention, we have organised a range of activities. These include workshops, training sessions, a panel discussion with experts, and awareness campaigns, both, in-person and online.

Follow the links below for details on each of these activities.

Awareness Campaign for Media Professionals

Imitative suicides due to sensationalised reporting on suicide is a well-documented phenomena that is linked to an increase in suicide deaths and attempted suicides. However, while suicides can be influenced negatively by popular media, the media can also play a protective role and significantly aid suicide prevention efforts.

Last year we launched a FREE ONLINE course on Reporting Suicides Responsibly: Implementing Evidence-based Guidelines for the Media. Sign up here.

To further highlight the need for responsible media reporting, this year we are running an online awareness campaign. Follow the hashtag #MediaForSuicidePrevention on Twitter & Instagram to view the campaign featuring suicide prevention experts, persons with lived experience, journalists & students.

Project SIREN Award for Journalists, 2022

Project SIREN (Suicide Reporting India Watch) is an initiative of the Keshav Desiraju India Mental Health Observatory to monitor the media’s reporting of suicide and ensure their adherence to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for suicide reporting.

To encourage responsible and sensitive reporting, every year we invite submissions from journalists who have written on suicide. The submissions are evaluated by a panel of experts.

This an annual award, the winners of which are announced every year on 10 September. Know more about the Project SIREN Award, here.

Awareness Campaign for Community Members in Mehsana

Suicide Prevention & Implementation Research Initiative (SPIRIT) is an integrated evidence-based suicide prevention intervention being implemented in Mehsana, Gujarat. The project has been working extensively along with rural communities to test and implement an integrated prevention trial with active engagement and support from agriculture, health, and education sectoral heads.

Over the next 4 – 6 weeks, the SPIRIT team is conducting awareness campaigns on preventive measures across 60 villages in Mehsana, reaching approximately 20,000 households.

The team has organised on-ground workshops on suicide prevention strategies that use techniques of participatory rural appraisal, audio-visual messages and other collaterals to facilitate a synergetic interaction between local stakeholders, governing bodies, the public health system, and community-based project representatives.

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Outlive: Hope through Action Festival for Young People, Parents & Caregivers

On 10th September 2022, Outlive organized the “Outlive: Hope Through Action” festival – a one-day event hosted at Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi, by Sangath, the Centre For Mental Health Law & Policy, and Quicksand.

“Outlive: Hope Through Action” engaged with young people, parents and caregivers through workshops, discussions and an art and video exhibition. The event focused on sharing personal stories of recovery, hope and how to support ourselves and those around us.

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Panel Discussion: Why India needs a Suicide Prevention Strategy NOW

While suicide is a public health issue, the role of the education, labour, agriculture, rural development, and several other departments is equally important in reducing suicides in the country. Given the various social, personal, and cultural risk factors that lead to deaths by suicide or attempted suicides, comprehensive interventions and policies are required at multiple levels through the coordinated efforts across agencies and sectors.

On 20 September 2022, we organised an online panel discussion featuring participants from the field who are actively involved in the intersection of mental health, health system policy and suicide prevention.

Topic: Why India needs a Suicide Prevention Strategy NOW

Speakers:

  • Urvashi Prasad – Director, Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office, NITI Aayog
  • Priti Sridhar – Chief Executive Officer, Mariwala Health Initiative
  • Arjun Gupta – Counselling Psychologist & Lived Experience Advocate

Moderator:

Arjun Kapoor, Programme Manager & Research Fellow, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, ILS, Pune

View the recording here.

Suicide Prevention Workshop for School Teachers in Pune

Suicide is a rising a concern among adolescents, as it is the leading cause of death among 15–18-year-olds. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 10,730 children (below 18 years) died by suicide in 2021.

With such alarming numbers and a dearth of adequate mental health services, there is a need for community-based interventions that can tackle the issue of suicides by leveraging community resources. One such community resource are teachers. Adolescents spend a majority of their time in schools interacting with their teachers and peers.

On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, the ENGAGE team will conduct a 6-hour long, in-person workshop with school teachers in Pune to highlight the role of teachers and educational institutes in preventing adolescent suicides in India.

Participation by invitation-only.

Online Gatekeeper Training Course

In India, community and family systems are an important source of support, and historically, have bridged the gap between illness and formal healthcare services. Drawing from community resources ensures context-based, accessible care and support, when there is a dearth of formal public health resources.

Gatekeeper Training is a WHO recommended suicide prevention strategy that leverages existing community resources. The training equips individuals (notably in a position of influence within a community) with skills to act as an immediate support provider for someone who is at risk of self-harm and/ or suicide.

Keeping this in mind, we at the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy have developed an Online Gatekeeper Training Course using evidence-based techniques & practices.

This course will help participants: 

  • Understand concepts, myths and facts around mental health and suicide 
  • Identify, assess, provide support to, and follow up with people at risk of self-harm and/ or suicide 
  • Connect persons at risk of suicide with appropriate health care services and psychosocial support 
  • Understand the role of a gatekeeper and self-care practices 

This is a weekend course, scheduled to begin in November 2022.

Registrations open soon!