mid-day editorial: Take a minute out of your day to save a life

Sep 11, 2017, 06:03 IST | mid-day correspondent

In a city that often puts mental health on the backburner, we should take heart in the small but significant number of initiatives held through the weekend to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, which fell on Sunday.

The theme for this year's Suicide Prevention Day was 'Take a minute, change a life'. The theme points to the importance of communication in today's world. It is open channels of communication that can dispel the darkness and despair characteristic of depression. It is communication that will give people the first inkling of whether the person you are speaking to, be it friend or family member, is dangerously on the brink and needs urgent professional intervention. Suicide prevention awareness can help banish wrong notions like 'those who talk about committing suicide will never go through with it'. That, as experts will say, is the wrong approach.

Awareness should also touch upon the value of human life. Today, we have a situation where children are taking their lives over a reprimand from parents. Being denied access to some gadget, being told not to go out for a movie with friends because it is study time, or even a verbal spat are all enough to send youngsters over the edge. There has to be a concerted effort to impress upon them that life is precious and cannot be ended for such reasons.

There are newer threats like the Blue Whale Challenge. The game has claimed several young lives abroad and has now swum to Indian shores too, never mind all the protestations about the media being alarmist.

Suicide Prevention Day must spawn initiatives that take away the stigma of mental problems, acknowledge the reality of depression, take suicidal thoughts seriously and, finally, recognise the importance of experts to combat these issues.

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