Need a little help dealing with thoughts of death?

Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 07:49 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

New foundation SAL takes a holistic approach while assisting those with thoughts of suicide and depression, helping them reclaim life

Need a little help dealing with thoughts of death?
Niraj Doshi. Pic/Satej Shinde

Around this time, last year, 38-year-old entrepreneur Niraj Doshi spent many nights in a row, trying to jump off rooftops in Singapore. The suicidal tendency was a build-up of two major depressive episodes since 2015. An engineer with an MBA who travelled the world, published a book, filed for a product patent, worked for MNCs in Dubai and Singapore, and lived an overall good life was pulled down by failed relationships. Minor dysthymia led to major depression and he tried to jump off the 23rd floor condo in Singapore multiple times. His psychotherapist prompted him to visit a psychiatrist who prescribed him medicine. After initial reluctance, and a nearly successful attempt at dying, he took to medication and has been thankful that he survived. It took 33 people to help him come out of this difficult phase of his life.

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"Every dark moment eventually opens up to light. And, for me, it was finding my life passion which my mother has guided me towards. She said, 'If 33 people saved your life, why can't you garner the support of 26.4 million to eradicate the 8,00,000 suicides that happen every year?' " Depression is not mental weakness, nor is it an eternal state. It is a curable, manageable illness of the mind, just like diabetes is for the body. That's why we are launching the SAL (Save A Life) foundation on September 10 (today), World Suicide Prevention day," says Doshi who is co-founding it with his 71-year-old mother Bansi.

Mental health needs continual work and good preventive wellness practices are the first step to a society free of suicides. "If you see a friend, colleague or family member struggle, do not downplay or ridicule his/her challenge. Hold that hand, say a kind word, or just hear them out. Save a life," says Doshi. The mother-son duo aim to eradicate suicide worldwide by 2040 by providing a 360-degree platform to address mental health and wellness concerns. These would include SAL Productions that would reduce stigma through books, plays, podcasts, SAL Wellness for preventive activities like meditation, dance and yoga along with medical advisory services to be conducted by a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists.

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The SAL AI and Data will provide technologies like Chatbot and GPS to reach out to individuals and help them in case of emergency. The SAL Education will teach children life sciences from an early age to equip them to manage emotions through various phases in life. The SAL AmbuCross will provide Red button for emergencies, embedded in cab-sharing Apps and taxis to help emergency patients who've tried to commit suicide and whose kin/friends can immediately access help through SAL AmbuCross. Also, SAL Finance will guide and help individuals to clear off financial debts by adopting a proper risk assessment and actuarial/insurance model. This will specifically look at eradicating farmer suicides as well.

Join the SAL team

What: Join the SAL team at the launch at IMC at 6.30pm.
Where: IMC, IMC Marg, Churchgate, Mumbai.

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