19 April 2012
By DNA Correspondent
It starts with a pledge card. From April 29, a Bangalore–based forum will distribute cards among students who will pledge to save their stressed peers from committing suicides.
Alarmed by the rise in student deaths, the Anti–Suicide and Rehabilitation Forum (ASRF), a wing of Child Rights Trust, an NGO, proposes to take counsellors to the doorsteps of troubled students. Each card they issue will carry the telephone numbers of 25 volunteers and counsellors.
“Many children suffer from depression and think suicide is the only solution to their problems. The pledge cardholders can inform the counsellors whenever their friends are depressed,’’ said Nagasimha G Rao of Child Rights Trust.
According to Rao, the pledge card holders can prevent suicides by facilitating counseling for students at their doorsteps.“Generally, students approach counsellors for guidance. We want to take the counsellors to their doorsteps. After receiving the details such as the name and address of the student, our counsellors will visit the student’s home. It will enable the student to confidently discuss his problems with the counsellors,’’ he said.
It all happened when a few girls approached Rao and narrated how their friend committed suicide for failing in the exam. They pleaded with him to take an initiative to provide counselling for students who are depressed.
“It took me more than a year to come out with this plan. More than 25 students have agreed to work as volunteers,’’ he said.
According to him, 133 students committed suicide in the state between November 2011 and February 2012.
“It is quite unfortunate that no government agency is maintaining the data on such suicides. Many cases go unnoticed due to various reasons,’’ he said.
Neena Nayak, chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said the idea of launching pledge cards would be a great help for students.
“The idea of counsellors visiting houses of students is very good. It will enable the students to discuss their problems with the counsellors and it will also provide an opportunity for parents to know about their children’s problems,’’ said Neena.