Overcoming suicide blues

Some people get so depressed as a result of their mental illness or life circumstances that they consider suicide as an option to escape from their emotional pain. They don’t really want to die; they just don’t know how to cope with or eliminate the pain they are going through, says Rtr Dhruv Parikh, President of RAC ISME, RID 3141, expressing concern over the growing suicide rate in India.

Self-development workshop in progress.
Self-development workshop in progress.

The Rotaractors commemorated World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept 10) with anti-suicide campaigns. ‘Working together to prevent suicide’ is their club’s theme for the year. They visited schools, colleges and offices and conducted events such as slogan writing contests where the participants had to write positive messages to overcome suicidal inclinations, and essay competitions where they had to write words of encouragement to deter people with suicidal thoughts. The charts and essays were displayed on the campuses.

Rotaractors at the Chai with Khaki project.
Rotaractors at the Chai with Khaki project.

Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason, so don’t ever give up. When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long. If you kill yourself, you are also going to kill the people who love you. Pleasure and pain are two aspects of life. They are inseparable. If you are experiencing the painful side of the coin right now, you will inevitably experience the pleasurable side in the future — the tide will turn.

This is a gist of the talks the Rotaractors delivered in few of the campuses.

“By the end of the programme, we felt so much satisfied that we were able to address a traumatic yet less-recognised issue plaguing all parts of the world,” says Parikh.

The club, along with RACs S K Somaiya and Bombay Powai, organised a session on self-development at the ISME campus in Mumbai. ­Motivational speeches were delivered by Sharmee Divan, Pavan Badlani and Raj Shamani on self-love, taking risks, facing failures and the art of giving. “It was the kind of session that helped the students relate to personal challenges and inspired them to think big,” he says.


Friends of Police

It was a different, yet special kind of Friendship Day for the Rotaractors as they made friends with police personnel. “The interaction really helped us understand their ordeal and appreciate the work done by these unsung heroes,” said a club member. The Rotaractors had named it aptly — Chai with Khakhi, as they visited police stations to tie Friendship Bands on the police, and shared a cup of tea, biscuits, poha and thepla with them on a wet, rainy day.

An anti-suicide message being written in office.
An anti-suicide message being written in office.

“We visited the Church Gate Police Station at 6.30 am and the timing of our breakfast was just perfect,” she says. The previous night’s downpour prevented the police on the nightshift duty from going back home. “They were tired and our breakfast feast was well-received.” The Rotaractors struck a conversation with them and got to understand their job and lifestyle. “Most of them said that they joined the police force as there was no other option. But then their outlook changed after getting into the role, as one of them said, ‘I transform into a more responsible person after donning my uniform.’ But then the odd working hours, less family time and no personal space were some of the common complaints,” she says. For eg, API Jitendra Kumar who suffered injuries while on duty, had to spend ₹40,000 for medical treatment. Though he was promised reimbursement, he has not got it yet. “They have to pay a price for helping people in need by sacrificing part of their salary which they could use for their family. Duty is worship for them but their expectations are not met due to lack of support.”

The Rotaract team stopped at every traffic police booth on the streets and surprised the policemen with friendship bands, cookies and little gifts. “We planned to cover only South Mumbai but the positivity and zeal got us till Goregaon. Each police station greeted us with lot of warmth and love. They clicked pictures and shared it everywhere to spread the work we were doing. They were delighted with this initiative as they believed the public has no respect for police and no one would ever do such a thing for them.”

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