“Institutions like family, government, religious groups, NGOs can play a significant role in preventing suicide mortality”
BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
There are reliable empirical data that reflect the link between the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing suicide mortality rate. The constant fear, anxiety of being the victim of COVID-19, increased loneliness, depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder, impaired social relationships, loss of job, financial insecurity, and many other related issues potentially inducing deep mental stress that ultimately increased suicidal behavior. Much has been said and written on this issue so far. Now, it is time to act and try to stop this growing trend. The institutions like family, government, religious groups, NGOs can play a significant role in preventing suicide mortality.
The Role of a family:
No doubt that modern inventions, discoveries, our social and economic needs have already changed our life drastically. Now, this prevailing situation emerged due to COVID-19 adversely impacted our social life. Our movements are restricted, we are forced to spend more time at home but unfortunately, we are not utilizing this time for the common good instead we mostly remain engaged with artificial gadgets like cell phones, TV, Radio, computer, etc. We know that if any strange attitude shown by any family member remains unnoticed for a longer period, it will have serious consequences. Therefore, there is a need to have a keen watch on each of the family members especially on growing youth, frame a proper timetable within the family, and spend at least half an hour with your growing kids and senior members. During this time, ensure that no family member will use any artificial gadgets like cell phones, TV, Radio, computer, etc. Dedicate this whole time either to have a personal dialogue on any topic or to read out any moral story. This particular time will provide parents ample time to understand the mindset of their children. They can express their wishes and other matters. Enjoying this short spell of timing together surely minimizes the stress level and will yield the best results. Usually, we use the term “Time Table” informal establishments like in offices or schools but the time demands that there should be a proper timetable within a family as well.
The Role of Government:
It should be the prime priority of the government to establish the counseling centers at the district level or block level supported by the online facility and well-versed staff so that any individual can access it at any time and avail the timely guidance and counseling from these centers.
There is a need to develop permanent infrastructure for such centers at the school level because the educational institution can play a pivotal role in shaping the overall personality of an individual. As children grow, so do their emotional, intellectual, and social needs. School counselors can play an active part in helping individuals to develop healthy relationships with their peers, cope with academic challenges, and create a resilient sense of self during this critical developmental period, Therefore, there is a need to develop counseling centers in each school. When I talk about counseling centers, it doesn’t mean a highly well-established separate infrastructure even we can utilize the already available infrastructure and human resources for this very purpose. The functional part of this center should be to keep every student under supervision. If the concerned teacher selected for this job notices any unusual behavioral changes due to any stress or anxiety, he/she should counsel him/ her. If the teacher realizes that the situation is beyond his control, he/she can inform the school authorities so that the services of expert psychologists can be utilized accordingly. It should be mandatory for every institution to keep a detailed family and medical record of each student. Furthermore, the states must ensure a safe future for our youngsters in terms of their social-economic life so that they can become the best contributors to society.
Role of our Religious leaders:
To put a complete halt to this socio-psychological problem, our religious orators can play a very important role. During any religious gathering be it the weekly congressional prayer (Friday Prayer) or any other religious occasion, they should at least dedicate few minutes out of their long speeches and make the common masses aware especially our young once so that they will think hundred times before taking such a drastic step that not only ends their precious lives but also ruin many families.
Role of NGOs:
NGOs can play a transformative role by developing specific programs on mental health or integrating mental health into existing programs. Apart from befriending desperate individuals, the NGOs can also undertake the education of gatekeepers, raising awareness in the public and media through some intervention programs. As there is wide variability in the expertise of their volunteers and in the services they provide. Besides spreading the awareness, they can develop a microeconomic plan or establish charitable trusts to take care of the financial or material needs of the people so that nobody in our neighborhood sleep with an empty stomach, no one in our locality will commit suicide. Let us be a part of this noble work.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are institutions, recognized by governments as non-profit or welfare-oriented, which play a key role as advocates, service providers, activists and researchers on a range of issues pertaining to human and social development.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher by profession, can be reached at [email protected]