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Times of India
15 January 2010
Pune, India

Connecting India
Against the backdrop of the recent spate of suicides by students, city–based NGO Connecting has organised an awareness workshop to help troubled young minds as well as to empower society to reach out to them.

The day–long workshop, starting January 26, will be held at the Sardar Dastur girls’ high school from 11 am. It aims to help participants attain emotional well–being, educate them about the warning signs and also equip them with the resources for coping and reaching out. The event will be open for parents, teachers and students.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Aranavaz Damania, founder–president of Connecting, said, “The alarming number of suicides by young people in and around Pune is a wake–up call for the community. It is an urgent call to introspect, provide support and take the right preventive action.”

Connecting has been working in the field of suicide prevention, especially among youth, since 2005. The NGO conducts awareness programmes in schools and colleges for students, parents and teachers.

Hemant Chandorkar, psychiatrist and Connecting member, said, “The workshop will allow participants to interact with our counsellors and address their questions to them.”

Connecting also operates a helpline (9922001122) for those in emotional distress and toying with suicidal thoughts. The helpline is operational between 2 to 8 pm every day.

Sandy Dias Andrade, psychologist and Connecting member, said that there has been a slight rise in the number of young callers in the past few days. “This probably could be due to the reported suicide deaths in the media from around the state,” she said. In the last three months, Connecting received 4.8 calls per day.

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