Metropolitan suicide helplines report increase in calls


The spike in the number of calls may be attributed to the rise in awareness regarding the issue of suicide feel experts.

Bangalore, March 22, 2018: Suicide helpline desks in metropolitan cities have phones ringing more frequently than before.

Sahai in Bangalore, Sumaitri, which has 16 centers across the country, Mumbai Samaritans, Roshni in Hyderabad, Jeevan in Jamshedpur and You Matter in  Goa reported that there has been a substantial increase in the calls from people depressed about various issues.

Sahai Bangalore gets 50 to 60 calls a week compared to the weekly 10-15 they got two years ago. You Matter from Goa has seen an increase in calls by 200 per cent.

Sumaitri’s branch in Delhi said that there has been a 20 per cent rise in the number of calls they received since 2015. Mumbai Samaritans used to receive four calls per day in 2015 and it rose to seven calls in 2016 and further reached nine calls per day in 2017.

Dr. K. Rama Reddy from Rajahmundry in Andhra, the recipient of the Dr.DLN.Murthy Oration Award considered to be the most prestigious award given by the Indian Psychiatric Society, said, “Number of people calling these helplines has gone up not just because the problem is becoming rampant, but the awareness has risen. As suicide is being discussed openly in the society these days, people are ready to come out and confess their issues. Suicide has been a major cause of deaths among teens and adults for years now. Statistics show that among 17 to 30-year-olds it has been in the top 10 reasons for death and among adolescents, it has been in the top three reasons.”

“There are mainly more students calling these days. Pressure seems to be mounting on teenagers and college-going students. We are even receiving mails from the students about their academic problems,” said Malathi Raj, a psychologist at Roshni (suicide helpline) from Telangana

Donna Noronha, the Coordinator of You Matter from Goa, said, “We are observing raising bullying cases these days. That is a big issue apart from the usual reasons for calling.”

Patrick Wez, a counselor at Sahai Bangalore, said, “The age of the callers ranges from 20 to above 60 years. Most of the problems start with jobs and jobs bite into relationships. More than that, communication is the main problem. They find it hard to express their feelings to people they are closest to.”

Wez added that, from his counseling experience, he observed social media to be a major reason for this problem as it has reduced direct interaction. which he feels gives greater psychological gratification and teaches ways to form relationships.

“It (Social Media) has sucked everybody into it like quicksand. These people are all slowly losing the ability to communicate and they don’t even realize it,” he said.

“A major chunk of the callers have relationship problems. We have also observed a spike in the calls made by the middle-aged and teenagers. In most of the cases, the middle-aged people are facing a midlife crisis and the teens are students facing exams,” said Nalini, a coordinator at Sumaitri which has 16 centers across the country.