Even after the high court’s decision to set up an anti- suicide helpline number within three weeks from August 2020 no helpline number has been established.
Himachal: The state of Himachal Pradesh saw a rise in suicide cases during the lockdown. A report by the police revealed, that the average monthly cases have increased by 31 percent. The people between the ages of 18-35 years are the most vulnerable ones.
According to Babita, a psychologist, the suicide rate has definitely increased this year as compared to what it was in 2019 and the reason behind this is the lockdown. “Yes, I did come across people who were more stressed than before because they could not channelize their energy into anything,” she said.
Even after the high court’s decision to set up an anti- suicide helpline number within three weeks from August 10,2020 no helpline number has been established. The department of health said that the state government is more focused on the ongoing pandemic situation and the helpline number would be released in the next three to four months.
Ritika Thakur, a social worker said “Himachal Pradesh does not have its own suicide helpline also not every government hospital has a psychiatrist to cater to everybody’s needs.”
Due to restricted reach, NGO’s are not able to cater to this need, leaving people with the option of calling helplines outside Himachal, which are either limited by time or by lack of work force. They are not able to attend to everyone, thus making the setting up of this helpline more important.
Arsh Thakur, a city resident said, “I had depression two years ago. When I started staying at home this year it triggered in. I have had thoughts of not wanting to live but this time I knew how to cope with them. ”
The Central Government launched a 24/7 toll-free National Mental Health Rehabilitation helpline called KIRAN this year. The aim of this helpline is to help people with first-aid, psychological support, distress Management and mental well being. Other than that there are a few more helplines like, Aasra, a Mumbai based suicide prevention helpline.
In a time where suicide is taking over Himachal Pradesh, it is extremely important that the government makes a suicide prevention helpline as soon as possible.