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GANGTOK | Sept 10, 2019:

Shillong and Gangtok are coming together to explore the “working together to prevent suicide” principle of suicide prevention.

Shillong-based San-Ker charitable trust which provides quality mental healthcare for all and Gangtok’s Freedom Facility, a rehabilitation centre of established credentials, are joining hands to organize a series of events on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 at MG Marg in Gangtok, Sikkim.

Supported by Sikkim State Health Department, SSACS, TB Cell, Hub Outdoor and The Royal Plaza, the programmes aim at generating awareness on suicides and try and trigger wider collaborations to address the challenge.

CYCLE RALLY: A RIDE TO REGISTER SUPPORT

The day began with a cycle rally which took off from MG Marg at 7 am and was followed by an awareness programme at MG Marg.

The cycle rally was flagged off by former Indian football skipper, Bhaichung Bhutia.

The cycle rally, which has already generated wide interest, is part of International Association for Suicide Prevention’s “Cycle Around the Globe” initiative organized across the world to mark the day to raise awareness on the risks of suicide and to fund suicide prevention activities.

The idea is to encourage people to engage with each other and to join together to spread awareness on suicide prevention. This is not a race but a ride to register support, said one of the organisers.

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HOW TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM

Apart from talks by subject experts and counselors who work with those at risk on a regular basis, the session also witnessed a panel discussion where panelists who included — mental health professionals, government functionaries, first responders and counselors deliberated at length on how wider collaborations can be shaped to address the problem.

Sikkim Health Minister, MK Sharma attended the programme as the chief guest.

Experts talked about the seriousness of the problem, ground realities for victims and the families they leave behind, the often overlooked aspect of what first-responders go through when deputed so often to the disturbing task of recovering dead bodies of suicide victims and what must be equal parts disturbing and rewarding task of manning the suicide helplines.

A suicide survivor also shared his testimony on this day, explaining the trauma he went through, what interventions he thinks would have helped and what eventually helped him embrace life.

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FREE SCREENING

Free screening for Depression, HIV and TB was also be provided at MG Marg on the day.

WHY IS THIS DAY IMPORTANT?

The collaboration, coordinated by SummitTimes, is born from the realization that suicide has been addressed for far too long in isolation and it was time that deliberations on it were expanded wider and more disciplines included in devising interventions.

The organizers are hoping that the event will provide a clearer picture on what needs to be done next to prevent suicides.

24×7 SUICIDE HELPLINE

A Gangtok family came forward with the offer to felicitate the 24×7 Suicide Helpline team in a welcome move to recognize their efforts to pull people back from the brink and for being the comforting hands which are always available when someone in distress reaches out.

Gestures such as this and readiness with which some of the capital’s business houses have extended support to the effort radiate the hope that the challenge of suicides may still be met.

 

 

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