Bhubaneswar, 20/10/2023 ( Odisha Samachar )– On October 20, 2023, the Society for Nature, Education, and Health (SNEH) organized a community awareness program titled “Suicide is Not the Answer” to tackle the critical issue of suicidal tendencies among adolescents in the Salia Sahi slum. The event aimed to create awareness among parents and provide solutions to combat this growing problem. The program took place at SNEH’s Conflict Resolution Counseling and Training Centre located in Mayfair Nagar, Salia Sahi, Bhubaneswar, and saw an active participation of approximately 130 attendees, including parents from nine habitations, Peace Committee leaders, Youth Cell Volunteers, and members of the media. In this awareness program, Mr. Sudarshan Chhotray, Eminent Journalist and Social Activist, Ms Jharana Swain, Principal Counsellor, Bhubaneswar Family Court and Ms Jayajyoti Panda, Psychologist and State Educational Consultant, UNICEF served as guest speakers, sensitizing the participants on this sensitive issue.
The program commenced with a condolence prayer for Anasuya, a 13-year-old girl from Mangla Nagar in Salia Sahi, who tragically took her own life. This incident deeply affected both the community and SNEH, prompting the organization to initiate sensitization programs aimed at preventing suicide.
During the event, Mr. Chhotray, addressed the audience, highlighting the prevalence of suicides in underdeveloped nations, particularly in India, where more than 7 lakh people die by suicide every year. He emphasized that the age group between 15-21 years witnesses a higher incidence of suicide, citing factors like excessive expectations, consumerism, mobile addiction, lack of parental attention, the nuclear family system, feelings of isolation, and societal prejudices as major contributors to this issue.
Ms. Jayajyoti Panda, a Psychologist from UNICEF, discussed the sources of negativity in human lives and how negativity can lead to depression, frustration, and suicidal tendencies. Panda also delved into the various stressors in adolescents’ lives, including family, educational, and societal pressures. She emphasized that numerous factors, such as relationship stress, exam pressure, financial burdens, mobile game addiction, sexual abuse, parental restrictions, bullying, ragging, and drug addiction, can contribute to suicidal tendencies. To address these challenges, preventive measures like meditation, socialization, spending time in nature, gardening, adopting a healthy lifestyle, engaging in activities like watching comedy or motivational films, and sharing problems with friends, family, and experts were discussed as potential solutions.
Ms. Jharana Swain, Principal Counsellor at Bhubaneswar Family Court, highlighted the legal aspects of suicidal deaths, underscoring that Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits suicide attempts and is punishable by imprisonment with a fine. She emphasized that counseling is essential to resolve such issues and provided information on helpline numbers, including the “Tele Manas Toll-free number, 14416,” and the Mental Health Institute of SCB Medical College and Hospital helpline number, “18003457288,” designed to counsel individuals struggling with suicidal tendencies.
A question-and-answer session on suicidal tendencies allowed participants to seek answers from experts. SNEH conveyed a strong message to society through this program that suicide is not the answer to any problem or conflict and that mental health cannot be ignored.
Subarna Ghosh, President of SNEH, guided the program, while the execution was led by Mr. Prasanta Kumar Pradhan and Dibakar Mahali, staff of SNEH.