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‘Take a minute, save a life’ reaching out hearts with positivity on World Suicide Prevention Day

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Kathmandu, September 11, 2017:Take a minute, save a life’, a mental health awareness program was held in the town yesterday on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day. The event, jointly organized by Working As Angels-WAA and The School of Psychology Nepal – TSOP Nepal, featured talks on suicide prevention and mental health issues.

Can you talk about depression?

Dr. Shrijana Adhikari, the first speaker of the event, talked about the psychological problems of human beings and why it is important to be aware of mental issues as much as physical issues. “Firstly, we need to be able to detect when our mentality is not stable and should visit a psychiatric without any hesitation. Then, only we can control our mental stigma,” explained Adhikari. She quoted different real instances to convey that awareness about mental health issues is very important as many of us take mental issues very lightly. “A mental problem like depression is not a sin and you don’t need to hesitate to talk about depression. And, if you feel that someone is experiencing any mental issue, help them be aware about it and help them tackle it. It’s not impossible,” she added.

Mental issues are as normal as anything

A cheerful guy from the audience, Biplov Karki, was so touched and moved by the theme and presented himself as a surprise speaker. He shared that he had OCD since his childhood and it was difficult for him to focus on his studies or any other activity. None in his family or friend circle really noticed his problem until he was in Grade 10, and the problem started getting heavier on him. He became aware of his OCD and sought for medications which actually helped him get over it. “Sometimes, when you are experiencing mental problems, you think that’s how you are, but no, that’s not how you are. Mental problems are illusive and that’s where the problem lies. Let’s talk about mental issues and make it as normal as anything else,” he shared.

Suicide is 100% preventable

Following a musical performance, the event continued with its talk series. Dr. Narendra Thaguna discussed on suicide causes and prevention.  He cited some cases and revealed research analyses and facts on suicide trends. He mentioned, “80% of suicides take place as a result of depression. And, research says that a person who has a suicidal death attempt suicide for at least 18-20 times before death. That means, we can still save a person with suicidal tendency if we are able to detect it in time. That is why World Health Organization (WHO) says suicide is 100% preventable.” Presenting recent data, he pointed out the major symptoms of a depressed person like always wanting solitude, having a very negative outlook in life and so on. We need to listen to people around carefully and observe them if they are mentally stable or not. As soon as we feel that someone may have a tendency of suicide, we should make sure we never leave them alone and help them feel good by our love and affection, according to Thaguna.

Resilience makes you a survivor

Briefing a personal take on how the community could prevent suicides, Dr. Bijaya Gyawali described about resilience and its influential role. He elaborated on how social, psychological, cognitive and physical resilience are all equally important to keep one’s life balanced. “Everyone is different and so is their perception and perspective. Not everyone will have the same resilience as you do. People with weak mentality and resilience need a boost from others. Be a helpline to them. Listen to them actively with all your ears, eyes and heart. That’s how you can respond effectively to their thoughts and problems. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the reason they will avoid suicidal thoughts. Thus, everyone can contribute in the prevention of suicide and make this world a better place,” he stated.

We want to contribute in the health and happiness of people. And, this is just one step. We all have the power to make a difference in each other’s lives and promote happiness and well-being. – Shiwani Manandhar

The event then featured a question and answer session where the audience interacted with the speakers and put their queries forward on the tendencies and possibilities of suicide worldwide. They also exchanged their experiences of mental issues and how they tackled it. It spread a wave of optimism that suicide prevention is actually possible if we could tackle mental stigma. Shiwani Manandhar, President at Working As Angels, expressed, “We want to contribute in the health and happiness of people. And, this is just one step. We all have the power to make a difference in each other’s lives and promote happiness and well-being.”

By Drishti Maharjan