Dharamsala: September 10 is celebrated globally as world suicide prevention day. In September, awareness and advocacy campaigns on suicide prevention are organized. WHO reports that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the age group from 15-29 years old (cite).
The mental health desk of the Department of Health, CTA is observing this month via organizing various awareness campaigns. Relevant information on suicide and suicide prevention is being posted on the desk’s Instagram page, Semtrin.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, the desk hosted awareness sessions with local leaders and NGO members in Dharamsala and Tibetan Primary Health center staff at Tsojhe Hospital, Bylakuppe. A total of 42 people participated in these awareness sessions. The sessions include focus group discussions, drawing and theater activities, quizzes, and reflection methods. Discussions on the following points were held:
· Understanding mental health and suicide
· Warning signs of suicide
· Risks and protective factors of suicide
· Myths and facts on suicide
How can we help prevent suicide, as individuals and as communities?
The discussions reflected the importance of early identification of those at risk for suicide and reducing stigma on suicide by increasing mental health literacy. More importantly, the participants agreed that suicides are preventable, and everyone has the responsibility for it.
The stigma around mental health and suicide acts as a barrier to people seeking help. Therefore, the Department of Health, CTA urges individuals and organizations to take a proactive role in promoting emotional hygiene through taking various initiatives, be it awareness seminars or webinars, anti-stigma campaigns, advocacy, etc.
The mental health desk is organizing a webinar followed by a Q/A session with Dr. Kunga Nozom, PsyD, on the topic, Suicide Prevention, on 11th September 2021, at 07:00 PM (IST).
These awareness activities were supported by PRM.