Pune: "We receive the maximum number of calls from youngsters in the age group of 15 to 20 years during February-March, which is the examination season, and during June-July, when results of most of the exams are declared," said Vikramsinh Pawar, a volunteer and helpline coordinator at 'Connecting NGO' that runs a helpline for those in distress and are feeling suicidal.
To mark the completion of 10 years in June this year, the NGO will extend its helpline timings by two hours starting from March 1.
Pawar said while a huge number of callers from Std X and XII call during this period, they also get calls from other schoolchildren and collegians.
Earlier, the helpline was on from 2 pm to 8 pm every day. From March 1, it will be active from noon to 8 pm daily. Besides, the walk-in service will be available from noon to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday.
"In the past few years, there is a steep rise in the number of callers. Annually, we get around 3,000 calls. In a way, however, we could also say that the number of calls has also increased because of the rise in awareness about suicide prevention and mental health. However, it can't be denied that the situation is certainly alarming," Pawar said.
Besides the helpline, the NGO also runs the Peer Educators Programme for students at eight different schools and several communities. The target audience for this programme is children in the age group of 13 to 15 years. "While working with this age group, we realised that there is a tremendous amount of distress pertaining to academics. While working with colleges under awareness programmes, we observed that emotional distress is quite common among collegians,'' he said.
Connecting team also runs Survivor Support Groups for those who have lost loved ones to suicides.
Observations by the NGO
- Bullying and ragging on college campuses are causing tremendous emotional distress among students.
- Financial issues are another important contributing factor among college students, so is not getting admission to the desired college or for the desired course.
- Love relationships and failure in such relationships at a very early age are also one of the major causes of many suicide attempts.
- Issues related to drugs and narcotics are also observed.
- Acceptance issues are another cause of depression and suicidal tendencies among students from sexual minorities.
- Helpline Number: +91-7030230033
- Timings: Noon to 8 pm, Every day