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Thursday, March 23, 2023

How can we prevent suicides? NIMHANS to spearhead the endeavour

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Suraksha, which will be piloted in Channapatnataluk, will span 32 panchayats in its first year, affecting diverse stakeholder groups.

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), in partnership with the State government, will start “Suraksha” — a community-based programme in Channapatnataluk of Ramanagaram district on Thursday to increase access to mental health in rural regions.

With this pilot study, NIMHANS will assess the feasibility and acceptability of community-based suicide prevention programmes in order to build an indigenous pilot model framework for suicide prevention research and surveillance. Following the start in Channapatna, the initiative will be expanded to Mangaluru, Haveri, and Ballari.

The pilot will aid in determining the cost-effectiveness of several nodal stakeholder groups, including farmers, labourers, daily wage workers, student communities, media professionals, and women’s organisations.

It will also generate a cohort for future longitudinal studies that will study the same individuals over time to detect any changes that may arise. According to Anish V. Cherian, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, and the project’s primary investigator, the initiative will be scaled up to a state level following the pilot research and feasibility assessment.

According to a National Crime Report Bureau (NCRB) report 2021, Karnataka recorded 13,056 suicides in the same time, a 6.5% rise from the year 2020, accounting for 8% of total suicides in India, and the suicide rate in Karnataka is 19.5%, higher than the national average of 12%.

Dr. Cherian explained that the initiative will include six work packages, one of which will be the formation of a community-based monitoring team. Among other things, managers of pesticide storage facilities will be identified and instructed on the necessity of pesticide storage and disposal, he added, pointing to pesticide intake as one of the principal routes of suicide.

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