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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Disfigured victim's plea to die

Disfigured victim's plea to die exposes India's acid violence

ReutersBy Nita Bhalla | Reuters

NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - They came in the dead of night, broke into her home as she slept and poured a cocktail of acids over her face -- burning her skin, melting her eyelids, nose, mouth and ears, and leaving her partially deaf and almost blind.
Her crime? She had spurned their sexual advances.
Nine years on, Sonali Mukherjee, 27, is appealing to the government for medical support for skin reconstructive surgery as well as tougher penalties on her three assailants, who were released on bail after only three years in prison. Either that, she says, or authorities should give her the right to kill herself. Euthanasia is illegal in India. "For the last nine years, I am suffering ... living without hope, without future. If I don't have justice or my health, my only way out is to die," she says, sitting on a bed in a sparsely furnished room above a Sikh temple in south Delhi. "I don't want to live half a life, with half a face." Sonali's desperate plea highlights the heinous crime of throwing acid on women in India, the lack of support for victims, and lax laws which have allowed attackers to get away with what activists say is the equivalent of murder. Acid violence - where acid is intentionally thrown to maim, disfigure or blind - occurs in many countries across the world, and is most common in Cambodia, as well as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India where deep-rooted patriarchy persists. Around 1,500 acid attacks are reported globally each year, with 80 percent of them on women, says London-based charity, Acid Survivors Trust International, adding this is a gross under-estimate as most victims are scared to speak out. There is no official statistics for India, but a study conducted by Cornell University in January 2011 said there were 153 attacks reported in the media from 1999 to 2010. Many of these attacks, said the study, are acts of revenge because a woman spurns sexual advances or rejects a marriage proposal. "These men feel so insulted that a woman could turn them down and have an attitude of 'If I can't have you, no one can'," says Sushma Kapoor, deputy director for UN Women in South Asia.

With a bright future ahead of her, Sonali was a 17-year-old sociology student in the city of Dhanbad in Jharkhand when the attack happened back in April 2003. The three men were her neighbours and harassed her as she left for college every morning. When she threatened to call the police, they took revenge, leaving her with 70 percent burns to her face, neck and arms. A court handed down nine-year jail terms to each of her attackers. But within three years, the men were out on bail. Her appeal against their release has yielded little results, says Sonali, and she continues to worry about her safety. Unlike countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, where acid violence has in recent years been listed as a specific offence, India still categorises it as grievous hurt, dolling out penalties which are lenient and jail-terms which are bailable. "The actual attack is just the start of a life of suffering. Most are disfigured and blind. They face years of physical and mental pain and need rehabilitation," says Sushma Varma, founder of the Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attacks on Women (CSAAAW), a Bangalore-based voluntary group. "In most cases there is no help, no support, no money." With a rising number of reports of such attacks, the cabinet this month approved a proposal to make acid attacks a separate offence, making it punishable by 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to 10 lakh rupees. This will now have to be approved by parliament. But victims and activists say the government must also look at regulating the sale of locally produced household cleaners, which contain highly concentrated acids, that are easily and cheaply available in local markets across the country. Acids are increasingly being used as weapons, like guns, they say, but there are no licensing laws for those who sell and purchase these deadly chemicals which also include neat hydrochloric and sulphuric acids. "You can buy highly concentrated chemicals like those used on me in most markets for less than 50 rupees a bottle," says Sonali. "This is enough to ruin a woman's life. They may not have killed me, but I might as well be dead." (TrustLaw is a global hub for news and information on good governance and women's rights run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more, visit

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stress Management Workshop conducted by Aasra for the red cross counselling training for teachers

AASRA's Director and Training Head, Johnson Thomas conducting a Stress Management Workshop for school Teachers As part of the Junior RedCross counselling training program On 18th July 12.00 n00n to 1.30 pm at Red Cross Hall, Near Asiatic library

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yet another distinction for AASRA on Facebook

Barb Hildebrand

Hello AASRA,

I am the creator of the FB page "Suicide Shatters". I had left 2 comments on your page today, but neither are showing up so I didn't know if you've got your page set to approve comments and that's why they're not showing yet, or whether it's another FB glitch that has been happening a lot.
Either way, you can delete whichever one you decide, I just like to let other pages know how I found them and as I said in my comment posts on your page, I've had several hundred from India just recently joined my page, two have contacted privately and I wanted them to know about your organization if they need help.

Just wanted to let you know that I'd done 2 posts and am glad to have found your organization. One new member who is 18 asked me today after saying they're suicidal over the loss of a friend whether you trace their phone number and would then be able to trace their address and contact her parents. I copied from your website that you assure complete confidentiality, but as I'm from Canada, I did not know how your organization works when it comes to the tracing.
Also emailed who has a page for India Suicide Hotlines that I've given out a few times and they have you listed on there but without your website url or email or FB page url. Hopefully they'll update it, but it's all automated replies, so not sure they'll actually make the changes.
Here's the page where your organization is listed: They give a link where you can send updated information in a format that they can copy and paste, but I just sent them what I had by email as I'm not you.

Take care, Barb
India Suicide Hotlines -! India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide. India Suicide Hotlines -! India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines, India Suicide Hotlines ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Share Aasra - helps in suicide prevention 2 minutes ago Aasra - helps in suicide prevention Barb. Thanks a ton. Sorry about the post comments . Dont know why it's not come up on the page. We do not trace anyone. We believe that everyone has a right to his/her own privacy. Facebook © 2012 · English (UK) About · Create an Ad · Create a Page · Developers · Careers · Privacy · Cookies · Terms · Help Quick reply mode: press Enter to send

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When you are in a crisis, think differently


Sometimes I need to approach a persistent problem with a new way of thinking. The Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez said, "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." His image reminds me to always be my own person, but it also challenges me to think creatively. Turning the paper sideways is like looking at situations from different angles. Henry L. Mencken said it first: "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong." And how often I am determined to keep pounding on that simple and neat solution until I make it work, or else I finally give up altogether. But success will surprisingly come when I decide to look at the thing from a wholly different perspective. Several all night convenience stores in New York City learned something about viewing problems another way. Evidently, some of the stores had a problem with teenagers hanging out in their parking lots late into the night. Not that they didn't like kids; they liked them very much. But customers complained that they were afraid of them in the dark and push through them to enter the store. Neighbours complained that couldn't sleep with the noise. And store personnel were worried about the well-being of the young people themselves. Late at night, these neighbourhoods were unsafe. Managers tried various methods to solve the problem. They asked the kids to find a safer place to congregate. They asked them to move away from the doors so customers didn't have to push through them. They asked them to discard their cigarette butts and trash in outdoor receptacles and not litter the parking lot. Each solution was simple, neat and completely ineffective. It seems that any of them should have worked. But none of them did and many of the store managers eventually gave up in frustration on solving the problem. Finally, one man came up with an unusual idea. He decided he had been approaching the situation all wrong. Asking the teens to change their behaviour didn't work, so he tried different. He just piped easy-listening music into the parking lot -- slow, soothing instrumentals especially suited for mature listeners.
No more loitering. Sometimes we just need to look at things differently. Again and again we butt up against the same old problem. It may involve a child or parent, a friend or lover. It might be a problem with a co-worker. Maybe it's just a complex situation we're working through, or a personal problem with which we can't seem to make any headway. And so far, everything we've tried has failed. Perhaps it's time to turn the paper around and write the way; to look at the problem a whole new way. Here's a good question to ask: "How can I come at this thing from a different angle?" Because there is likely something you're not seeing. A father and his daughter were stopped by a flight attendant before boarding their plane. The problem? The little girl was clutching a large bouquet of balloons. In sympathetic tones, the attendant told the child that she would not be permitted to travel with all of the balloons. "Only one is allowed per passenger," she said in a voice that concluded there's nothing to be done. After all, rules are rules.
Father and daughter decided they could each carry one. So with tears in her eyes, the little child selected her two favorite balloons for the flight. But before she could discard the rest, another passenger intervened. "Here, I'll take one," he said. He quickly saw a solution to the problem and proceeded to give one balloon to anybody in line who would take one. As she disembarked, every balloon was returned to the happy child.
Here was a man who just looked at the problem a different way. Instead of saying, "There's nothing be done," he turned the paper sideways and the answer was clear. When you turn your paper sideways, what do you see? -- Steve Goodier Source : LifeSupport

Friday, July 13, 2012

Indians trapped in Bahrain and committing suicide- an appeal from the brother of a suicide victim

Dear Indians from all over the world,

Over 100 Indian workers are trapped in Bahrain over a pay dispute with construction giant Nass. Unable to work or leave, one man has already committed suicide. Let’s call on a key international partner for Nass Corporation to put pressure on the company to respect human rights before more innocent lives are lost. Click to sign now and forward this widely.

Days ago, I received the devastating news that my younger brother had hung himself in a public garden in Bahrain. He was one of over 100 Indians trapped in Bahrain by their abusive employer -- Nass Corporation. I couldn’t save Pasupathi, but I’ve started this petition to fight for the rights of his friends who are captured and helpless.

There are over 350,000 Indians living in Bahrain and almost 70% live in slave-like conditions working for wealthy Bahraini companies like Nass who underpay their staff and then get travel bans placed on them so they cannot leave. Living in misery and without hope of escape people like my brother are left with one option: suicide. The Indian Embassy has asked Nass to lift the travel ban on its remaining 100 workers so they can return home, but they’re refusing to listen. To save the lives of men like my brother, I have a plan to hit Nass where it hurts, but it will take the support of people from across India and Indians from across the world.

Nass has entered into a partnership with a Scottish company to bring golf to rich Bahrainis. If we raise the alarm now, we can urge Braemar Golf to pressure Nass on worker’s rights or walk away from this partnership. Nass did not listen to a poor labourer's cry for justice, but they will certainly listen to their prestigious business partner. Sign now and when we reach 100,000 Avaaz will deliver it via hard hitting ads in the Scottish media so Braemar gets the message. Sign now and forward:

The blatant exploitation of workers is permitted in Bahrain by something called the kafala system -- an arrangement that places foreign workers at the complete mercy of their visa sponsor. Often companies underpay their employees, or the sponsor takes a massive cut of their wages. When that happens most try to leave or find new work, but Bahraini companies go to the courts, claim contracts are violated and succeed in getting travel bans imposed. This is what happened to my brother when he tried to come home to us.

The situation is desperate. Although Bahrain changed this slave-trade like kafala system back in 2009, it was quietly reinstated during last year’s unrest. Today, over 100 workers still remain trapped by Nass Corporation -- unable to work, leave or live. The Indian government has been trying to help, but the political instability in Bahrain has limited its impact and influence.

We have to find a new way to move past the political deadlock and instead directly pressure Nass to treat its workers with respect -- hitting their business interests is the best way to win. Let’s expose their abuse internationally to their partner in Scotland, and urge Braemar Golf to take a stand for workers’ rights. Sign now and forward:

I couldn’t help my brother, but I will not ignore his desperate cry for help. There’s over 100 fellow Indians still trapped in Bahrain, together we can give them hope and freedom from slavery.

With hope,

Shanker Mariappan

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Toll Free Helpline 1800 3010 1999 FOR ALCOHOLICS and PSYCHIATRIC SUPPORT

Toll Free Helpline 1800 3010 1999 FOR ALCOHOLICS & PSYCHIATRIC SUPPORT

Wisdom Medical Research Foundation (WMRF), the comprehensive psychiatric and alcoholics rehabilitation centre based at Chennai, has introduced the Toll Free Helpline 1800 3010 1999 which is first of its kind.

For nearly a decade, Wisdom Medical Research Foundation helps Alcoholics, Drug Addicts and Mentally Ill Patients through its different rehabilitation centers in and around Chennai. To provide rehabilitative care for individuals with alcoholic addiction, a lot of hands on research and practical study has been done by WMRF. With professional approach toward the most effective treatment for addictions , WMRF lays special emphasis on the families of the addicts and strives to make the families of the addicts healthy again.

Wisdom Medical Research Foundation's Chairman Dr Joshy George is a professional Expert in Clinical Psychology widely recognized for his extensive work in the areas of Alcoholic Addiction and Mental Illness. As an ardent social thinker, Joshy George carries out practical studies on epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. He has counseled for a wide range of psychological difficulties like anxiety, depression, relationship problems, learning disabilities, child and family

WMRF aims to help the patients recover from addiction and gain the insight and skills needed for a full recovery and a life free from drugs and alcohol. Thorough family education and support, and extensive aftercare planning are necessarily included in the overall addiction treatment plan of WMRF. Punnar Jeevan and Balasahai are the unique projects of Wisdom Medical Research Foundation that have been carried out successfully to improve the lives of people, fostering an environment that embraces diversity and promotes teamwork.

For Editorial Purpose, Dr Joshy George @ 9791070078 , 9445097108 Visit the Website : .

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rohtak medical student falls from hostel roof, dies

Rohtak medical student falls from hostel roof, dies (7th July 2012)

Rohtak (Haryana), July 6 (IANS) A final year medical (MBBS) student died after falling from the roof of his hostel at the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma (BDS) University of Health Sciences in Haryana's Rohtak town Friday, police said. Rohtak is about 70 km away from New Delhi. Krishan Dahiya, of Samaspur Majra village in Jhajjar district of Haryana, was a final year student of the MBBS course. The incident took place Friday when Krishan suddenly fell down from the roof top of the hostel. The hostel staff rushed Krishan to emergency ward of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) but he was declared brought dead, investigating officer Raj Karan told IANS. Classes at the institute were suspended following the incident. The victim and his friends had partied on the hostel roof Thursday night. "Body of Krishan has been handed over to his kin after getting its post-mortem done. Whether he was in an inebriated state or not when the accident occurred will be ascertained after the post-mortem report by the doctors," the officer said. The police have registered inquest proceedings and statements of Krishan's friends were being recorded.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Aasra now included in Wattpad - the world's largest community for discovering and sharing stories

Hello from Wattpad!

My name is Caitlin O'Hanlon and I am the Community Engagement Manager at Wattpad, the world's largest community for discovering and sharing stories. With more than 8 million monthly visitors and more the 5 million uploaded stories, we are a rapidly growing website that thrives on bringing the joy and excitement back into reading and writing! However, with the good, always comes the bad, and more and more we are finding ourselves coming into contact with users who are desperately in need of help...and that is where we would like you come in.

As part of ongoing effort to make our user experience the best possible on Wattpad, we will soon be adding a section to our site that will list all of the helplines available worldwide. This email is simply to let you know that we will be including your service's information on our site and that, if there are any details that have changed recently, if you could please let us know as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time and all your wonderful work :)

Caitlin O'Hanlon Community Engagement Manager

8 Exercises to Improve your Mental Health
8 Exercises to Improve Your Mental Health As we age, our mental health deteriorates and we become less sharp. But just because your memory is fading and your problem-solving skills have weakened throughout the years doesn’t mean you can’t turn it around and improve your mental health today. All our brains need are some good teasers and training to come back to life. Here are eight exercises to improve your mental health.

Exercise: Daily exercise and physical activity prevents disease and makes you stronger, but it also improves your mental health. Ever heard of a little thing called endorphins? These feel-good chemicals are released during exercise and other activities and have been known to increase feelings of euphoria, happiness, and well-being. In addition to the endorphin increase, exercise also reduces stress and anxiety, the common culprits of depression and other debilitating mental disorders. It doesn’t matter if you walk, bike, swim, or weight-lift; all types of exercise are good for the body and mind.

Meditation: The act of sitting still, closing your eyes, and clearing your thoughts can do wonders for your mind and body. Meditation means something different to everyone, and the benefits of regular meditation range from increased self-awareness and heightened spiritual connection to improved mood. Meditation exercises can significantly improve your mental health by allowing you to let go of negative thoughts and feelings and reach a higher consciousness. You’ll likely feel relaxed and rejuvenated after meditating and be ready to take on the day or end the day with a clear, healthy mindset.

Memorization: One of the best ways to improve your mental health and increase your brain power is to memorize bits of information and recite them. Whether you memorize a grocery list, a phone number, or a joke, memorization is a valuable tool and beneficial exercise for the brain. Remember, it’s just as important to test your long-term memory as it is to test your short-term memory. An easy way to do this is to talk to an old friend or family member and try to recall specific names, dates, and events that require you to tap into your stored memories.

Learn something new: A great way to exercise your brain and improve your mental health is to learn something new like speaking a foreign language, playing an instrument, or mastering a recipe. When you learn a new skill, you encounter different challenges that force you to step out of your comfort zone, make mistakes, and reach new goals. Once you’ve mastered a new skill, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of fulfillment and self-satisfaction, both of which are excellent mental health boosts.

Solve problems: Whether it’s math problems or scheduling issues, problem-solving is an incredibly important skill we use every day. There are many techniques and skills involved in problem-solving, and those who regularly exercise this area of the brain may improve their overall mental health. Don’t shy away from problems; try to solve them on your own. Although the process of solving a problem can be frustrating, you’ll feel proud and empowered when you find a resolution.

Test your concentration: No matter your age, you can always work on improving your attention and concentration. You can do so by exercising your brain with games and teasers that stimulate your concentration skills and help you retain more information. Improving your concentration skills can help you in a job and other tasks that require you to pay close attention and memorize important information.

Do puzzles and games: Puzzles and games challenge your brain in so many positive ways and can greatly increase your overall mental health. Working on puzzles and games will require you to use critical thinking, problem solving, and reasoning skills. These exercises stimulate your mind, improve your concentration, and enhance your vocabulary and math skills. Not to mention, working on jigsaw puzzles or crossword puzzles yourself can be a very relaxing and rewarding activity.

Read and write often: There are many mental health benefits of reading and writing that go way beyond relaxation and entertainment. Reading and writing stimulate the brain, spark imagination, and increase creativity. Regular reading and writing can increase your comprehension skills, vocabulary, grammar, and memory. Not to mention, both exercises can be very therapeutic for the mind. Writing can also help you address negative thoughts and bad memories that affect your overall mental health.