‘We receive approximately 250-300 calls per month’

What do you think is the main reason behind the increasing number of suicides?

As per National Crime Records Bureau statistics, there are approximately 675 officially reported suicides in Pune. Unofficially, the numbers are much higher — many suicides are reported as accidents. Probably 2-3 per day. In our listening helpline, we experience that lack of listening spaces in normal community life is one of the reason that is compounding the distress of people. Lack of caring relationships and opportunities to vent out the frustrations and distress with loved ones causes people to bottle up the emotions. When the distress reaches unbearable levels, thoughts of suicide begin to appear in the minds of people.

What are the different kinds of pressure that youngsters go through? Is there a specific age group that suffers the worst?

In our school peer education program, we notice that youngsters are distressed due to the expectations that are heaped upon them by the parents, schools and many a times by themselves. There is also distress arising out of strained relationships with loved ones. Difficulty in relationships with people of opposite sex also cause distress. Our helpline receives calls from people between the age group of 15 and 80. Majority of the callers are between 25-55 years.

How many distress calls does your NGO receive on an average day? Has this rate seen a hike in recent times?

We receive approximately 250-300 calls per month which is almost double the number of calls we used to receive a year ago. We have been actively working on publicising the helpline numbers so that people can contact us when in distress.

What advice do you give people calling to seek help? Do you also contact the police or their parents or refer them a counselor when you see that there is an immediate threat to the callers' life?

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