Saturday, September 12, 201
By Priyanka Bhatt
Mumbai is undoubtedly an internationally known metro. But with the title, also comes the pressure. The city with its fast pace is slowing down in terms of keeping its citizens emotionally safe. Day after day, more people are falling into the darkness of depression, and attempting suicides. The pressure now lies on most of the youth, who not only have the pressure of passing in exams, but also facing peer pressures, family traumas and taking care of their own finances as they grow up. To spread awareness among the young, Sisters Living Works (slw), an NGO dedicated to prevent suicides, organised an event at the Mumbai University’s Fort campus.
The speech in the beginning was made by the Founder of slw, Gayatri Datta. She shared her own experiences and what drove her to begin an organisation that encourages people to embrace life and not ever think about ending it. “I have myself lost many of my own loved ones to this, and I always wish I could help as many people as I could,” Datta said. She stated that death by suicide has a big stigma attached to it. “There should be no stigma to it. A person in depression should be treated with love and not by judgements. Judging does not help anyone and encourages people more to end things,” she said.
Dr. Harish Shetty, a reknowned psychiatrist was also present among the panel. He stole the session by stepping down from the stage and interacting with the college kids present in the hall. He gave an example of a case of a boy who was young and suffering from depression. “He was a college-going boy whose parents came to me and said he had been angry, irritable and sad for the past one year. He had started becoming indifferent to his friends. He would not even play his favourite games. Therefore they decided to remove him from the Whatsapp group. They thought he had developed an attitude problem,” Shetty described. He revealed that after a few counselling sessions and medication he was alright, but his friends started ridiculing him when they found out he was seeing a psychiatrist. “He stopped taking his medication, and condition got worse than it was before. One day when his parents went out, he hung himself from the ceiling fan,” Shetty said.
He told the students present there that they had to be ‘Mental Health Soldiers’ who would help anyone who was sad, depressed and said that they wanted to end their lives. “Always look around and notice if someone you see on a regular basis is missing. That even includes the person you see everyday on your 8.24 local but never talk to,” Shetty said.
“Suicides are worse than epidemics all because of the stigma attached to it,” Shetty said. He asked the students’ opinions whether they thought committing suicide was courageous. A student of Jai Hiind college, Jahanavi, volunteered to answer, “I think it requires courage to kill oneself which should be acknowledged,” she said. “Suicide is a state of mind, and has nothing to do with courage or cowardice. We have to eradicate this myth about suicides,” Dr. Shetty explained.
Addressing the young group of people, Shetty pointed out that before the age of 22, everyone has at least two break ups, “It is very common. People feel having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a good thing but, having one is not about efficiency and not having one is not about deficiency,” he said. He said that no boy or girl is worth living for or dying for. He ended the speech by saying that if the city is emotionally safe, it will automatically become smart, which earned a lot of applause from the audience.
Dr. Shetty’s useful tips:
Give them company, and ask, ‘do you want to hang out?’
Ask: Do you need any help?