SISTERS LIVING WORKS
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ABOUT US

In 2014, founder Gayatri Datta, after experiencing the pain and suffering from personally losing loved ones to suicide, was compelled to do something to help prevent suicide in India. Silence for her was no longer an option. Thus began Sisters Living Works in 2015, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the suicide epidemic in India, and provide suicide prevention education and resources to the public with a primary focus on the women of India.

India has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.  In 2015, more than 133,623 individuals in India died by suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death for women and girls ages 15-49,  and the rate appears to be rising.

Cultural and social factors like the dowry system, forced marriages, poverty, and gender inequality are contributing factors for suicide among women in India. In addition, lack of mental health care resources and the stigma associated with seeking mental health care, creates reluctance to seek suicide-related help.

The recently introduced Mental Health Care Bill in the Indian Parliament underscores the depth of the problem of suicide, and for the first time in India’s history, establishes access to affordable and quality mental health care as a right for all, and decriminalizes the act of suicide. This is a very welcome change, but there is much that needs to be done.

Since its founding in 2015, Sisters Living Works has:

  • Spread awareness to thousands of individuals in numerous schools, colleges and communities.
  • Reached hundreds of individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.
  • Educated reporters, media and the community about how to best report and discuss suicide.
  • Communicated with thousands of individuals through our website, social media, brochures, and speakers to reach the masses.

WHAT WE DO

Workshops

Intensive group interactions are organized where information is provided on the prevalence of suicide in India, the warning signs of suicidal behaviour, and strategies that participants can use to respond effectively to a person expressing suicidal thoughts. These workshops raise awareness and equip the participants to serve as “First Responders” to someone in a suicide crisis.

Experiential Sharing

Through sharing sessions and focused dialogue, we create a safe and sensitive space in which individuals feel comfortable to talk about their stories and experiences with suicide and mental health. We welcome and encourage discussion from participants about personal past suicidal behaviour (if any), a loved one who may have exhibited suicidal tendencies, or simply expressing one’s thoughts and opinions on this topic.

Support Group

In addition to providing education, Sisters Living Works is creating a resource network for survivors of suicide in Mumbai and the surrounding neighbourhood through a free support group. The group will have meetings at a designated location where participants can share, process their emotions related to their loss, remember the loved one they lost to suicide, and provide strength to one another in times of need.

Conferences

Sisters Living Works holds an annual, day long conference to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day observed on 10 September. The conference invites a panel of eminent professionals and advocates in the field of mental health, which engages with the audience about suicide and its prevention, and shares valuable insights on the importance of taking care of one’s own mental fitness and obtaining professional help when needed.

Other Events

Events occur throughout the year to instil awareness and create an open dialogue about suicide and mental health. Some significant ones include:

  • International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
  • Into The Light: Our Annual Awareness Run and Walk.
  • Movie and Documentary screenings.
  • Stalls and information desks put up at college festivals and other recreational events.

Sisters Living Works continues to expand the variety of events and venues in order to reach as many lives as possible.

WE CONTINUE TO EXPAND THE VARIETY OF EVENTS AND VENUES IN ORDER TO REACH AS MANY LIVES AS POSSIBLE.

OUR MISSION

Prevention of suicide among women in India by raising community awareness, involvement, education, and advocacy. Our activities, events, and efforts are focused towards:

  • Educating individuals that suicide is a preventable public health problem.
  • Raising awareness about the warning signs of suicidal behaviour and the action-oriented steps one can take to respond in a supportive manner.
  • Encouraging help-seeking behaviour among people.
  • Breaking the stigma surrounding suicide, mental health, and therapy.
  • Creating a safe space for individuals to freely and comfortably talk about suicide and mental health, to find hope in the knowledge that each person is a crucial part of our community and should never feel alone in their struggle.

GOALS AND VISION

Sisters Living Works ultimately visualizes a suicide-free India, where each person is aware and sensitized about the importance of mental health. Our goals include:

  • Developing educational content to promote awareness about suicide and mental health, and delivering them through offline and online mediums such as workshops, conferences, and multimedia outlets.
  • Developing and implementing strategies to counter cultural stigma associated with suicidal behaviour, mental health diagnosis, and its treatment, which prevents many from seeking help.
  • Assisting family members in understanding that suicide affects not only the suicidal person, but the family too. Guiding families to seek help in dealing with their feelings of grief from loss of their loved ones and their pain from the burden of the resulting social stigma.
  • Creating a “Women’s Centre”, where women can gather, develop friendships, and provide support. Women of different walks of life can use this space to come and share, learn, connect with others, and work together to reduce the shame and stigma often associated with mental health treatment.
  • Recruiting, organizing, training, and educating advocates dedicated to the cause of suicide prevention, and to influence the public and elected officials on policies affecting suicide prevention.

STATISTICS TILL DATE

OVER

24618

PEOPLE REACHED

OVER

70

ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED

OVER

24

ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS

Groups Reached in Mumbai, India:

  • SNDT Women’s University
  • Jai Hind College
  • Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work
  • Mithibai College of Commerce and Arts
  • University of Mumbai (Kalina)
  • Siddharth College Rotary Club (Bandra and Khar)
  • Yerla Medical Trust
  • Magic Bus, an NGO working with the lower socioeconomic groups in Mumbai

 
 

  • Spandan Foundation
  • Kherwadi Social Welfare Organization
  • Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) which works with around 200 women’s groups around Mumbai
  • Asha Sadan, a home for destitute girls
  • Alcoholics Anonymous groups (Al-Anon)
  • Dharavi Slums
  • Railway Workers
  • Co-working and event spaces like Helm of Eight, MCubed Library, QTube Café, and The HIVE       

BOARD

Gayatri Datta

President and Founder

Dr. Sandra A. Yerkes

Psychiatrist, Vice-President

Atin R. Datta

Treasurer

Shomik R. Datta

Secretary

April Gower-Getz

Research Advisor

Arup Datta

Fundraising Advisor

Dr. Rahul Datta

Mental Health and Art Advisor

ADVISORY MEMBERS

Dinesh Sabu

Film Director/Producer

Dr. Eric Kothari

Psychologist

TEAM IN INDIA

Rimpa Sarkar

Psychologist - Project Manager

Email

rimpa@sisterslivingworks.org

Mobile

+91 9769592733

Shweta Srinivasan

Psychologist - Project Coordinator

Email

shweta@sisterslivingworks.org

Mobile

+91 9820969329