It needs courage to induce positive energy in the life of a person who has reached a state of depression, so much so that they think about ending this beautiful life. Pune recorded a shocking 700 deaths due to suicides in 2013, according to official records. And these are just the numbers of deaths; there are an equal or higher number of attempts to suicide each year as well. This depressing rise of suicides helped facilitate the establishment of ‘Connecting’, a Pune based NGO, made up of trained volunteers who are devoted to bring those people back to the life who are on the verge of suicide. The NGO was established in July 2005 by a group of concerned citizens, led by Mrs. Arnavaz Damania, who came together for a noble cause and to empower the community by preventing suicide and its related issues. They have taken several powerful initiatives with the help of trained volunteers, experienced mental health professionals, therapists, educationalists and survivors of suicide.
‘Connecting’ has a vision where they want to create a community in which everyone is connected.Their aim is to prevent suicide and to help suicide survivors. They are dedicated to the cause of suicide prevention, especially among youth and provide support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. They have different programs to prevent suicide and provide emotional assistance to the survivors. The helpline is an active listening service which is confidential and anonymous. The efficient volunteers who attend to the calls provide space to the people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds and listen to callers in a non-judgmental and non- advisory way.
According to JyotsnaBahirat, the program coordinator, accurate knowledge of suicide warning signs is crucial in making a timely response to prevent suicides. And so,in response to invitations from educational institutes, organizations and community settings they conduct awareness programs for briefing about suicide.“We give session in schools, colleges, NGOs and other institute such as in Deepgriha society for women, men and youth. Also in ‘Hope for children’ for single mothers and destitute women, Medical Mission Sister`s next (HIV positive women), YWCA Hostel and for people living in slums.” said the program coordinator.
‘Connecting’ provides emotional support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide and suicide attempt survivors. These people are at high risk of suicide and need support for recovery from the loss. They offer hospital visits to survivors at burns ward at YCM hospital in Pimpri, twice a week. They paid 70 home visits till now in this year and survivor support groups to meet this need.Moreover, they collaborate with the police to build linkages with survivors.
They also have a Peer Educator Program. This program is aimed at addressing emotional distress using a peer support approach. Volunteers for peer educator are the students from schools who support their peers in distress. The Peer Educators are in turn guided by trained Connecting Facilitators in their listening, self-care and life skills. They also conduct workshops and promote discussions on various issues such as capacity building, personal growth etc.The NGO and its volunteers act as a reminder that help is only a phone call away for those who need it and they urge people who are in distress to call, without hesitation and ask for help.
For further information and volunteering details, contact: 09689003044 or 020-26333044.
Helpline for those in emotional distress: 1-800-209-4353 or 09922001122