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Suicide prevention centre to be opened in

Coimbatore today

COIMBATORE, January 29, 2011

The City Police will provide counselling to persons with suicidal tendencies advising them to
desist from resorting to such extreme decisions.
A centre for people with such tendencies will be opened on Saturday by the Additional DirectorGeneral of Police (Law and Order), K. Radhakrishnan. In addition, there will also be a helpline to
ensure a peaceful and comfortable life for senior citizens facing harassment.
Talking to The Hindu, City Police Commissioner C. Sylendra Babu said that the suicide
prevention centre will be headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime Records Bureau
Rangathal who will be assisted by one inspector, four sub-inspectors besides support staff in the
form of counsellors and psychiatrists to render emotional and psychological assistance.
The centre would handle cases referred by 15 police stations and three All Women Police Stations
in the region.
The police personnel at the field level would get information about people in extreme situations.
These cases would be then taken care of by the centre. A dedicated phone number would be
announced on Saturday.
The ADGP will also inaugurate an Old Age Helpline on the City Police office premises which will
be functioning under the direct control of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order)
E.S. Uma and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Control Room), K. Sundarraj.
The objective of this centre would be to ensure help for senior citizens because the
Commissioner's Office was getting at least three petitions on an average from old age people who
complain of harassment by their wards and relatives.
The cell would monitor the action taken on such cases and closely follow up the status of the

World suicide prevention day observed in Coimbatore


COIMBATORE, September 11, 2013

Counsellors, teachers and peers say that suicides could have been prevented only if
those with suicidal tendencies had talked about their problems.
A college student chided by her teacher commits suicide. Another one not able to cope with
studies commits suicide.
A boy whose love is spurned by a girl commits suicide. Yet another who has more than 15 arrear
papers to clear commits suicide.
But it is a fact that a high number of suicides in Coimbatore have been happening over such
reasons in the last two years.
Counsellors, teachers and peers say that these suicides could have been prevented only if those
with suicidal tendencies had talked about their problems.
The at-risk-for-suicide persons only needed to be convinced that the issue for which they had
decided to die for was something that could be overcome and not worth dying for.
The reluctance to share problems with a confidante is seen to be the greatest hurdle in preventing
Realising the significance of this hurdle, this years World Suicide Prevention Day on September
10 was observed with the theme of Stigma: A Major Barrier for Suicide Prevention.
The theme has relevance from the fact that many who have problems and suicidal tendencies do
not seek help for fear of being stigmatised, ridiculed or shamed.
According to D. Srinivasan, psychiatrist, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital, tolerance levels of
college students have reduced drastically.
They are not able to handle issues mainly because of low self esteem. Comparisons between
classmates, pressure to perform, not knowing where friendship ends and love begins, not able to
cope with the transition from school to college, etc, are the main reasons for which most of the
students are committing / attempting suicide, he says.
Though in most cases, the decision looks to be impulsive for an onlooker, it is not a decision
taken on the spur of the moment.
It is a combination of genetic / biological vulnerability, psychological make up, and social
network of the person concerned, he adds. Psychologists and senior faculty of colleges say that
students prefer to have an open line of communication with parents and peers rather than the
teachers and other elders. But this line has to be developed from early years to gain that level of
confidence and trust.

It cannot be expected to be achieved after a certain age.

Though teacher-student mentoring and parent-child counselling are seen as important, peer role
in identifying suicidal tendencies and helping the at-risk-for-suicide person is seen as the most
This is because, many seek professional help only after a failed attempt. Psychotherapists say that
if the at-risk-for-suicide person seeks help or is brought by near and dear ones for help in a
timely manner, suicidal deaths can be greatly reduced.
According to K. Selvaraj, Director, Vazhikatti Mental Health Centre and Research Institute, there
are effective treatments for all kinds of psychological trauma that lead to suicide.
It is only a question of seeking / getting help early. But in traditional societies, ignorance and
stigma are preventing persons from getting effective help, he says.
Not only the person with suicidal tendency, the family members and others closely related to
them also need support, education and guidance to understand and solve the problems
associated with suicidal behaviour.
This becomes a difficult task as suicidal behaviours are kept as secrets, he adds.
The urgent need is to create awareness among those with suicidal tendencies that help is at arms
reach there is always a friend / parent / college counsellor to hear them.
Beyond them is the professional counsellor who can take the affected on a permanent path of

Coimbatore in urgent need of suicide helpline

Pratiksha Ramkumar, TNN | May 7, 2014, 04.04AM IST

COIMBATORE: The recent suicide of a 17-year-old girl in Tirupur fearing her exam
results, brings to the fore the urgent need for a suicide helpline in the city. With the class
12 results to be announced on May 9th, helplines in other cites are getting anywhere
between 20 and 30 calls a day pertaining to anxiety over results.
For example Sneha, a counselling helpline, that specialises in preventing suicides, in
Chennai gets double their usual number of calls between May 1 to 30 of which 50% to
60% are result oriented calls. "We get at least 40 to 60 calls in the month of May," says
Dr Lakshmi Vijaykumar, founder Sneha.
In the absence of such helplines, students who turn to their friends or parents at their
most anxious moments are lucky to be taken to a counsellor. Counsellors say anxiety
levels of students usually peak two to three days before results are announced. "They
suddenly begin worrying about their results. They need to be reassured that even if they
do fail, it is not the end of the world. They could take the exam again held immediately
which will allow them to apply for college without wasting a year," says counsellor G P
"It is important that a person suffering from anxiety or depression has a phone number
they can dial just to talk about their worries. Such assistance can help prevent suicides,"
says Gohhanavalli.
Counsellors say suicides are usually impulsive decisions, and there needs to be someone
to discourage them at that impulsive moment. Once they change their mind, they never
even think of suicide again. "Even if they have been contemplating suicide for a few days,
the decision to act on it is usually a spur of the moment thing," says Dr Vijaykumar. "We
get calls from people just before they do something rash or even after they do something
like consume poison or sleeping pills," she says.
Due to the absence of a helpline, many counsellors join as many networks and
organisations as possible to spread the word about their availability. "I give my number
to all schools, colleges and police stations that I visit," she says. "I also give it to Childline
so they can offer it when they get calls from teenagers. I sometimes even give
advertisements in newspapers with my mobile number inviting students to call for help
or counselling," adds Godhanavalli.
This becomes even more crucial because many parents and friends tend to dismiss
anxiety symptoms in their children as 'common' and do not take them to a counsellor.
"They realise the seriousness and resort to a counselling session only after the anxiety
presents itself as a physical symptom like constant headaches or abdomen pain. Only
after the general physician diagnoses it as stress do they come to a counsellor," says
psychiatrist Dr B Ravishankar. "More than just introducing a helpline, it's important to
spread awareness on its existence," he says.