(2) Youth Suicide Crisis in India: the existing solution Landscape

Neeraja Kulkarni
Youth Suicide Crisis in India
2 min readJun 19, 2020

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The existing solutions can be categorised in three categories; Knowledge and Awareness, Services and Skills.

Knowledge and Awareness

  • NIMHANS* and Live Love Laugh Foundation, create awareness through campaigns like #DobaraPoocho (‘Ask Again’), aimed at breaking stigma.
  • Mental Health Collective, ‘Its ok to talk’, and Mithra Trust provide mental health comics and information that enable understanding and engagement.

Services

  • Some of the HEIs offer online and/or phone therapy. Counseling services are also provided on campus.
  • Specialized mental health hospitals as well as psychiatry departments for treatment are accessible.
  • Private clinics and counselors are available in most cities. Rural and District mental health programs are available.
  • Group counseling, peer support, and movement based therapy are available. Tele-counseling and chatbots, such as YourDost and Wysa, are available.
  • Self-help products and tools, like ‘The Meh Kit Riding Out Depression’ by Mithra Trust are available and affordable.
  • Suicide and crisis helplines such as SNEHA and iCALL are accessible.

Skills

  • Community engagement programs like Gatekeeper Training are conducted by NIMHANS, and Suicide Prevention India Foundation.
  • Mental Health First Aid training is made available by MHFA**, India.
  • Public schools in Delhi^ have incorporated Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Life Skills Programmes as part of their curriculum implemented.

Across the globe

Best practices for suicide prevention vary across the globe. For example, Sri Lanka has reduced access to pesticides, a commonly used means for death by suicide. JED Foundation (USA) provides students struggling with mental health, a platform to share their stories. They also promote usage of varied services such as counseling and peer group discussions.

Shifting the Burden archetype

An overwhelming focus lies with short-term solutions that are easier to formulate, less expensive and remedial in nature. This consequently, acts as a barrier to implement restorative solutions that address the root causes and could have a long-term impact on reducing emotional distress.

*NIMHANS — National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
**MHFA — Mental Health First Aid
^ Aam Admi Party (AAP), the governing body in Delhi, has implemented SEL in public schools’ curriculum

*contact us for permission to reprint/reuse

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