Connecting NGO launches new helpline centre in Chinchwad

Connecting NGO, an organisation working towards preventing suicides in the city, on Wednesday set up a new helpline centre in Chinchwad. The centre was inaugurated by DCP Shahaji Umap and actor Mohan Agashe.

"In Pune, we receive around 250 to 3,000 calls every month. At times, callers cannot reach us owing to busy phone lines. To be able to reach out to more people we have added two more helplines," said Jyotsna Bahirat, acting CEO of Connecting NGO.

Pradnya Pisolkar, a volunteer at the NGO and also the owner of Tejas Gym on Bijlinagar Road where the new office has been set up, said her training as a volunteer has helped her a lot in personal as well as professional life.

"A few months ago, my father refused to eat or drink. We thought he wanted to end his life as he was be prone to such tendencies owing to Parkinsons disease. However, after putting my volunteer training into practice, I found out that he was only suffering from acute constipation," said Pisolkar.

Agashe said one should learn to listen to others patiently. "I learnt the skills of listening from Vijay Tendulkar. He wouldn't talk much, but would listen a lot. People would open their hearts in front of him and he always had a advise or two," said Agashe.

The new helpline centre will have six volunteers to attend calls between 2 pm and 8 pm. The volunteers would also visit homes of suicide victims and help their families cope with the loss.

"We visit police stations and gather information about suicide victims and their families. We counsel and lend them a moral support," said Saumitra Pathare, a volunteer.

The NGO volunteers also visit Sassoon Hospital where they meet suicide survivors and gain their confidence to register complaints.

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