Help is just a phone call away

Bharati Singh (in red and black) during a counselling session at Sa-Mudra Foundation.

Bengaluru has figured on the global suicide map for years, but the numbers have been steadily increasing for the past few years. Reasons are many, ranging from stress to depression to relationship problems.

With the World Suicide Prevention Day falling on September 10, Metrolife took a close look at the various helplines available in the city, where one can reach out to if they need help.

Sa-Mudra Yuva Helpline

Call: 98803 96331

The Sa-Mudra Foundation was founded by Bharathi Singh, who also started Sa-Mudra Yuva Helpline around a decade ago. “Bharathi, along with four to five volunteers, mans the helpline, apart from providing counselling at the centre. Calls are re-routed to counsellors as and when required,” says K C Janardhan, trustee of Sa-Mudra Foundation. 

The helpline used to operate 24x7 but now the hours have been restricted from 9 am to 11 pm. This was due to frequent calls made by intoxicated individuals at night.

The helpline has received 48,610 calls since its inception, with 3,860 calls being received from the start of 2018 till now.

“There is increased volume from January end to June end, when students are tensed about examinations and results. Apart from this, callers are talk about love failures and work stress,” he says. 
Janardhan adds that the callers are mostly between the ages of 14 to 35 years. 

Mind & Brain Clinic Helpline

Call: 99007 50017

A fairly new helpline, it has been set up by Mind & Brain Clinic. The helpline operates 24x7.

Dr Safiya M S, medical director, Mind and Brain Clinic, says, “We have a team which includes a psychiatrist, a nurse and an ambulance driver. We started the helpline six months ago and have received at least 10 distress calls. Some callers went on to receive counselling at the centre.” 

She adds that counsellors too need positive reinforcement regularly as they need to stay de-stressed.

“My team and I constantly discuss our cases and keep changing the way we approach the calls,” she says.  

Sahai 

Call: 080 25497777

The helpline was set up in 2002 by Medico Pastoral Association, a rehabilitation care centre. It is operational from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 5.30 pm. The team deals with distressed calls about sexual orientation, marital issues, education, career and self-harm.

A source says, “We were open till 8 pm earlier, but now our operational hours coincide with regular office timings. Any calls that come after this are accepted by the answering machine and re-routed to our counsellors/volunteers who help accordingly.” 

The helpline has received more than 16,000 calls since its inception. 

Parivarthan Counselling Helpline Services

Call:76766 02602

The helpline service is available from Monday to Friday, from 4 pm to 10 pm. Calls made on weekends are routed to an automated machine, which specifies the working hours. This is followed by an automated message. 

Arogya Sahayavani

Call: 104

This state-run health information helpline does not specifically deal with suicidal callers but it provides 24x7 assistance and counselling to anyone in need of assistance for mental or physical health issues.

Look out for these warning signs

When someone declares that he/she is going to commit suicide, be empathetic. Even if they might not attempt anything, do not assume that they are not serious. Direct them to professional help at the earliest.

When someone starts saying goodbyes too often. 

When someone suddenly starts making phone calls/sending messages to settle matters or for closure. 

When an active/social person suddenly withdraws from activities he/she enjoyed earlier. 

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