In a first of its kind, Indian school students have launched ‘Depression Helpline’ for suicide prevention. Purely a brainchild of Sainik School Purulia alumni, the facility will act as first level support for any alumnus depressed for any reason.
The ex-students of this military school in West Bengal had earlier launched the Students Welfare and Inspiration Foundation Trust (SSP-SWIFT).
After successful execution of similar pro-active progressive initiatives, the latest effort has been announced on the World Suicide Prevention Day i.e. September 10, 2013.
The alumni decided to pilot the helpline to counter increasing stress in the life of young people mainly due to pressure of jobs and careers.
The Depression Helpline team is spread worldwide and includes alumni with depth of experience in a variety of situations and professions. Mentors include Arun Kumar Shaw (Hyderabad), Sukhen Jana (Jalandhar), Suraj Kumar, Prashant Vimal, Sawan Chaudhry (NCR), Santosh Sharma (Mumbai), Mukesh Prasad (Bangalore) and Avinash Kumar (North America).
During the conversations, the mentors would prioritise to make callers feel better and then refer to a local qualified psychologist, if necessary. They will also help the person if the cause appears to be academic or career-related via their network and expertise.
According to Atul Rai, Chairman of SSP-SWIFT, “The idea was proposed by San Francisco-based alumnus Shreyas Kumar. Such a helpline was felt necessary as younger generation now has stressful academic life in colleges and in search of a stable job and career. Digressions are many and role models are few.”
Bibhav Pratik Rai, a trustee in charge of the Helpline said, “A young alumnus is missing since August 1, although we do not know the reasons but this helpline will help people in distress and will hopefully save lives in the future.”
Avinash Kumar, an alumnus based in Texas, and the VP of Strategy of SSP-SWIFT said, “Whereas top institutions of India like the IITs do provide counselling services but those are for current students. This initiative, aimed at alumni, by the alumni, is first such initiative in India and can serve as a shining example for other reputable schools and colleges.”
The Helpline number in India is 08699403952. A help seeker can also post a private message at https://www.facebook.com/SspSwift. The Helpline promises to maintain confidentiality. This Helpline is a complementary effort to the already popular career guidance series of events titled ‘Lakshya’ by SSP-SWIFT.
While Kargil War Hero Sqn. Ldr. (retd) Prajesh Banerjee, a resident of Durgapur is the Lead Mentor, Global OD and India HR Head of GlobalLogic Capt. (retd) Sanjay Mitra is among many mentors to the programme.
Y.N.Rai, a Commandant with CRPF and school’s first recipient of President Police Medal for Gallantry, is among the programme advisors.