Every year, September 10th is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day. In this regard, the Department of Psychology organized a programme in association with the Medico Pastoral Association, Bangalore – avoluntary therapeutic community that works for the rehabilitation of mentally ill persons. The event and lectures were sponsored by the Medico Pastoral Association. The theme for this year was “Stigma – A major barrier for suicide prevention”.
The programme was attended by Ms Diana Tholoor, Director, Chrysallis performance centre, Dr Joseph George, Head and Prof of Counselling, UTC, Trustees of the Medico Pastoral Association (MPA), students and faculty members of the Department of Psychology and Social Work, Christ University.
The chief guest for the event was Prof. Raghuram, Head of Psychiatry, KIMS, Bangalore. In the opening remarks of his keynote address, Prof. Raghuram referred to suicide as the ‘silent anguish’ and the alarming statistics in Bangalore which accounted for almost 15% of suicides in India, with the vulnerable population falling in the 15-24 age groups. In addition to facts and figures, the address gave invaluable insight through a poem written by a farmer just before his suicide, perspectives by eminent sociologists such as Durkheim and Goffman on the phenomenon of suicide and the stigma associated with it. He also highlighted the importance of prevention, intervention and postvention as plausible steps in addressing this issue and the alleviation of stigma in survivors of suicide. The address ended on a thoughtful note that “the stigma lies with us and we need to restore hope”.
Following this there was a debate on the theme – “Suicide prevention: The onus lies with the individual and not with society”. The debate was moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Jasmine from the Department of Psychology. The debate had two rounds – the first in which each team presented their case for or against the topic and the second round in which they went head-to head with their arguments and counterarguments. It ended with the house vote by the audience and questions and comments by the audience.
The programme was well represented by all the Postgraduate and Honors students who put up skits and dance-dramas on the theme. Overall the event highlighted the demand for qualified and empathetic professionals in the field of mental health and a call to specifically address the pressing issue of suicide prevention.
Department of Psychology