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Monday, June 30, 2014

Write-up on Aasra in the BBC

Write-up on Aasra in the BBC

4 December 2012Last updated at 14:50 GMT

Shantanu Negi’s Facebook suicide prompts shock in India

By Shalini Joshi Dehradun
 64542907 64542444 Write up on Aasra in the BBC Shantanu Negi’s friends initially believed his Facebook post to be a joke
An Indian student has killed himself after posting a Facebook suicide note.
“Bye everyone… I will miss you… I quit,” wrote Shantanu Negi, 16. Police think he was worried about an exam.
His friends initially believed it to be a joke, with many “liking” his last post and others commenting on it before they found out what happened.
Counsellors working with the social media site to improve reporting and support say many such cases in India are referred but few result in death.
Shantanu’s death occurred at home in the northern town of Dehradun on Monday evening.
Within hours, as the news of the suicide spread, his shocked friends started writing condolence messages.
“Shantanu killed himself because he was worried that he won’t do well in his mathematics examination,” police officer Dinesh Singh Bhandari told the BBC.
A student of class 11 in the prestigious Asian School, Shantanu was a good student who had scored 90% marks in his class 10 examinations.
“Recently, he seemed to have lost interest in studies. We had talked to him about it, but there was no pressure on him,” his father Pushkar Negi said.
From his Facebook profile, Shantanu appeared to be like any other happy and carefree teenager and his school said there had never been any complaints about him.
Helpline Last year, Facebook launched a system to allow users in India and elsewhere to report friends who they think may be contemplating suicide.
In India, the social networking site added the Mumbai-based Aasra suicide prevention helpline – part of the Befrienders Worldwide/Samaritans network – as part of its suicide risk alert system.
Johnson Thomas of Aasra told the BBC that in the past year they had intervened in more than 300 cases forwarded to them by Facebook.
Once a case has been flagged by worried friends, trained counsellors from the helpline email users offering to help them.
“We tell them we are worried and concerned about them. We cannot invade their privacy, but we request them to call us,” Mr Thomas said.
“Very often they do and we talk them out of it. Some just stop posting such messages because they realise they have friends who care for them.”
Mr Thomas says Shantanu “needed reassurance that not performing well in one exam is not a reason to kill himself. We all need people around us to support us.”

More on This Story

Related Stories

  • 7 March 2011Last updated at 16:58 GMT

    Facebook adds Samaritans suicide risk alert system

     51567014 009793180 1 Write up on Aasra in the BBC
    Rory Cellan-Jones shows how the system works
    Facebook is launching a system that allows users to report friends who they think may be contemplating suicide.
    The feature is being run in conjunction with Samaritans, which said several people had used it during a test phase.
    Anyone worried about a friend can fill out a form, detailing their concerns, which is passed to the social networking site’s moderators.
    It follows reports of several cases where Facebook users announced their intention to commit suicide online.
    The reporting page asks for the address (URL) of the Facebook page where the messages are posted, the full name of the user and details of any networks they are members of.
    Suicide-related alerts will be escalated to the highest level, for attention by Facebook’s user operations team.
    Police alert “When a report is made, they then assess whether they need to call the police immediately or forward it on to us,” said Samaritans’ Nicola Peckett.
    Facebook said that it had always been its policy to notify police if a user was at risk of imminent bodily harm.
    The system had been operating in a trial mode, without publicity for three months, during which it received several genuine reports and no hoaxes, according to Samaritans.
    It is hoped that the new reporting mechanism will help prevent cases like that of Simone Back, who died on Christmas day after taking a drug overdose.
    The charity worker from Brighton had written about her intention to kill herself on her Facebook page.
    Several of her friends commented on the message, however no-one raised the alarm.
    Samaritans said that the new system was not launched in relation to one specific case, but to raise awareness of the ways in which people could get help.


  • India police investigate Bangalore ‘Facebook suicide’

     55530827 304272 144213685674025 144211935674200 214402 21190822 n 1 Write up on Aasra in the BBC Malini Murmu was reported to be upset by ‘derogatory’ Facebook comments
    Police in India are looking for the former boyfriend of a student who allegedly committed suicide after he ended their relationship on Facebook.
    Malini Murmu is reported to have hanged herself on Sunday in Bangalore. Her father has demanded that her former boyfriend, Abhishek Dhan, be arrested.
    Police say they are investigating whether the comments on Facebook amount to aiding and abetting suicide.
    The whereabouts of Mr Dhan – also a student – are currently unknown.
    Malini Murmu was a first year MBA student in the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore.
    Ms Murmu’s family say that Mr Dhan’s Facebook account contained derogatory references to her – now deleted – which “forced her to take such a drastic step”.
    In the comments on Sunday he wrote about being “relieved” and “feeling cool” after “dumping his girlfriend”. The pair had reportedly had a row earlier on.
    Ms Murmu’s father told the BBC that her death had left the family devastated.
  • 27 JUNE 2012, INDIA
    27 June 2012Last updated at 07:23 GMT

    Why are young Indians killing themselves?

     61189786 017f8cd7 85e7 447a a1dd ec0166725b19 Write up on Aasra in the BBC Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among young Indians
    In the end, wrote Albert Camus, one needs more courage to live than to kill oneself.
    If new research is to be believed, a disturbingly high number of young Indians are losing the courage.
    study published in the medical journal The Lancet shows that suicide has become the second leading cause of death among the country’s young adults, after road accidents in men, and childbirth-related complications in women.
    There were 187,000 deaths from suicides in India in 2010, the study says – this is higher than the official figure of 134,599 suicide deaths from the National Crime Records Bureau. (Researchers attribute this gap to under-reporting or misreporting as friendly or bribe-seeking coroners often sign off suicide deaths as ones caused by accidents to protect the victim’s family from police harassment and social stigma.)
    If the findings by a team of doctors are to be believed, 40% of the men and 56% of the women who took their lives in 2010 were aged between 15 and 29 years.
    The suicide rate in Indian women aged 15 years or older is more than two and a half times greater than it is in women of the same age in high-income countries, and nearly as high in China. The corresponding rate in men in the same group is between one to two times greater in men of the same age in high-income countries.
    I asked Dr Vikram Patel, a leading Goa-based psychiatrist and professor at the London School Of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the study, about why he thought this was happening.
    He believes that joblessness for men and post-marriage problems for women trigger off a lot of these suicides. “In women it manifests in depression, in men it becomes a drinking problem,” he says.
    India is a society steeped in the patriarchal tradition, where most women are still expected to stay at home, and bring up children. But more and more women are stepping out to work and aspiring to be independent and successful. But pressures of family, demands for dowry and domestic harassment – and violence – push many such young, married women over the edge in the country’s teeming cities and towns.
    “This is what I call the aspirational reality gap,” says Dr Patel. “Exposure to global media, education doesn’t match up to the realities at home. A touch of anomie worsens matters. Suicide is seen as a potential way out of it.” Perhaps not surprising in a society which lives with one foot in tradition, and the other in modernity.

Article in The Star World(Toronto Star) with reference to AASRA

Aasra in on the New mental health Bill 2013

Government's move to decriminalise suicide is half-hearted
The Mental Health Bill says that suicide cannot be prosecuted. But it remains a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code and allows for people who attempt to take their lives to be incarcerated in institutions.

Amendments to the Mental Health Care Bill were approved by the cabinet on Thursday, in an attempt to protect the rights of people suffering from mental illness. But experts have criticised its provisions relating to suicide, even though the proposed legislation claims to decriminalise the action. Unless the Indian Penal Code is also changed, they say, people who attempt to take their own lives can still be prosecuted.

“At the end of the day, suicide will still be a crime,” said Amba Salelkar, a lawyer and disability and mental health rights activist. “If suicide were truly being decriminalised, legislators would have removed it from the IPC itself.”

The bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha in the budget session in February. The original draft of the bill was filed in the Rajya Sabha in August 2013. A parliamentary committee on health and family welfare submitted their review of changes to the union cabinet.

At present, attempting to kill oneself is illegal under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, and can be punished by a year in prison. The Mental Health Care Bill says that notwithstanding the IPC, anyone attempting suicide “shall be have severe stress at the time of attempting suicide and shall not be liable to prosecution and punishment."

It goes on to state that it is the government’s responsibility to help ensure that those who have survived a suicide bid do not attempt it again. This clear puts all those who attempt suicide under the health care provisions of the bill, one clause of which includes the right of the government to incarcerate people of unsound mind for up to three months against their will.

By retaining IPC legislation and classifying suicide as a mental illness, the bill effectively gives the government the right to incarcerate anyone in a mental institution if suspected of having attempted suicide, experts say.

“If suicide were truly being decriminalised, legislators would have removed it from the IPC itself,” said Salelkar. “At the end of the day, suicide will still be a crime. This is what makes me uncomfortable about the bill.”

Dr Bhargavi Davar, another mental health activist, added that the decision to cite the cause of suicide as “severe stress” is dangerous because it allows a much larger range of people to be classified as mentally ill. “Mental illness is defined so broadly, any person is liable to be brought under the bill,” she said. “Who in urban areas is not stressed? Will they also be deemed mentally ill?”

She said that the earlier draft of the bill left open the option for people had attempted suicide but did not have any official diagnosis of mental illness to go to court to prevent themselves from being incarcerated in a mental institution. “How do you prove to the court that someone is not stressed?” she asked.

Both Davar and Salelkar believe that the solution would be to change the IPC, and not mention suicide in the Mental Health Care Bill at all.

Not a deterrent

Most psychiatrists agree that criminalising suicide is illogical. According to them, the law has never served as a deterrent to people wanting to take their own lives. The rate of suicides in India has steadily risen in the past five years.

“It is a good move to decriminalise suicide,” said Dr NN Raju, secretary of the Indian Psychiatric Society. “Suicide is a move taken to end suffering. They think it is the only option left to them. Society has an obligation to help them out, rather than labelling them as criminals.”

Dr Kedarnand Banerjee of the National Institute of Behavioural Sciences concurred. “Suicidal people are least bothered about legislation,” he said. “When the thought comes, it comes. Thinking about the law never stopped anyone from attempting suicide.”

While they welcomed the apparent decriminalisation of suicide, they too were not pleased with its being described as a mental illness.

Labelling suicide as a mental illness is inaccurate, according to Raju. “While severe stress doesn’t necessarily cause suicide, calling somebody mentally ill is not correct either,” he said. “Someone who tries to commit suicide may need the help of mental health professionals, certainly, but trying to commit suicide is not necessarily the result of inherent mental instability.”

According to National Crime Records Bureau figures, which are most likely under-representative, India’s rate of suicide, 11.2 per 100,000 in 2012, is far lower than the global rate of 16 per 100,000.

Within India, nuances emerge. More men kill themselves than women. According to an NCRB report, men kill themselves for economic reasons, while women kill themselves for personal reasons. Housewives formed 18.2 per cent of the total number of suicide attempts in 2012. This is more than over half of the women who were reported to have killed themselves in that year.

The top five specified occupations of those who committed suicide from 2001 to 2012 included housewives, farmers, those in private service, the unemployed and self-employed. These constitute 54 per cent of a total of 1.4 million people who killed themselves during this decade.

“It is necessary to understand that suicide is not an event,” said Johnson Thomas, who works with Mumbai-based suicide helpline Aasra. “It is not a one-time process. People go through different stages of stress and when it comes to a head, that is when they commit suicide.” Thomas, however, believes that the bill will be useful as it will force the government to take the responsibility of therapy after a failed suicide attempt, which is their stated intention.

Dangers of the bill

The social and political consequences of including suicide in the Mental Health Care Bill extend beyond just wrongful incarceration if the person survives, according to Salelkar. For instance, if a housewife were to survive a suicide attempt, they will be classified as mentally unstable and could have custody of their children taken away from them under the Juvenile Justice Act.

There are also cases in which pressure from in-laws for dowry is a pressing cause of women committing suicide. “When the case comes to trial, because she is deemed to be mentally ill, her evidence could become shaky,” said Salelkar. “Even if she doesn’t survive, the fact that suicide is filed under the Mental Health Care Act means that the family that might have abetted the suicide has some more room to wiggle out of being convicted.”

Political acts of protest are also likely to be prosecuted as before. Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for ten years now. Each year, she is released from hospital custody for one day, then re-arrested under section 309 of the IPC. The government can choose to argue that Sharmila is not under severe stress. Since suicide has not been decriminalised, the government will not be obliged to release her from custody.

With this misguided attempt to help suicide survivors, experts say, the government has instead laid the ground open for them to be persecuted further.


New mental health Care bill , India, 2013

HRD / Labour / Health

The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013

The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 19, 2013.  The Bill repeals the Mental Health Act, 1987. 

The Statements of Objects and Reasons to the Bill, state the government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.  The Convention requires the laws of the country to align with the Convention. The new Bill was introduced as the existing Act does not adequately protect the rights of persons with mental illness nor promote their access to mental health care.  The key features of the Bill are:
  • Rights of persons with mental illness:  Every person shall have the right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government.  The right to access mental health care includes affordable, good quality of and easy access to services. Persons with mental illness also have the right to equality of treatment, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, free legal services, access to their medical records, and complain regarding deficiencies in provision of mental health care.
  • Advance Directive: A mentally-ill person shall have the right to make an advance directive that states how he wants to be treated for the illness during a mental health situation and who his nominated representative shall be.  The advance directive has to be certified by a medical practitioner or registered with the Mental Health Board.  If a mental health professional/ relative/care-giver does not wish to follow the directive while treating the person, he can make an application to the Mental Health Board to review/alter/cancel the advance directive.
  • Central and State Mental Health Authority: These are administrative bodies are required to (a) register, supervise and maintain a register of all mental health establishments,(b) develop quality and service provision norms for such establishments, (c) maintain a register of mental health professionals, (d) train law enforcement officials and mental health professionals on the provisions of the Act, (e) receive complaints about deficiencies in provision of services, and (f) advise the government on matters relating to mental health.  
  • Mental Health Establishments: Every mental health establishment has to be registered with the relevant Central or State Mental Health Authority.  In order to be registered, the establishment has to fulfill various criteria prescribed in the Bill.
  • The Bill also specifies the process and procedure to be followed for admission, treatment and discharge of mentally ill individuals.  A decision to be admitted in a mental health establishment shall, as far as possible, be made by the person with the mental illness except when he is unable to make an independent decision or conditions exist to make a supported admission unavoidable.
  • Mental Health Review Commission and Board: The Mental Health Review Commission will be a quasi-judicial body that will periodically review the use of and the procedure for making advance directives and advise the government on protection of the rights of mentally ill persons.  The Commission shall with the concurrence of the state governments, constitute Mental Health Review Boards in the districts of a state.  The Board will have the power to (a) register, review/alter/cancel an advance directive, (b) appoint a nominated representative, (c) adjudicate complaints regarding deficiencies in care and services, (d) receive and decide application from a person with mental illness/his nominated representative/any other interested person against the decision of medical officer or psychiatrists in charge of a mental health establishment.
  • Decriminalising suicide and prohibiting electro-convulsive therapy: A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code.  Electro-convulsive therapy is allowed only with the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia. The therapy is prohibited for minors.
Bookmark and Share 
Current Status: Pending
Ministry: Health and Family Welfare
IntroductionAug 19, 2013
Com. Ref.Sep 18, 2013
Com. Rep.Nov 20, 2013
Lok Sabha
Rajya SabhaIntroduced
Relevant Links
SCR Mental Health Care Bill, 2013.pdf  Standing Committee Report  (676 KB)
Bill Summary-Mental Health care bill.pdf  PRS Bill Summary  (104 KB)
 Bill Text (849 KB)
Related news articles
Proposed mental health legislation can be misused: Delhi court, Zee News, Nov 29, 2013
New mental care bill has many pluses, Deccan Herald, Nov 22, 2013
A much-needed mental care Bill, Live Mint, Aug 27, 2013
In Rajya Sabha, bill to decriminalize suicide tabled,Times of India, Aug 22, 2013
New mental health bill decriminalises suicide, Hindu, Aug 21, 2013

10 Powerful Affirmations That Can Change Your Life THE MIND UNLEASHED on 6 March, 2014 at 09:28

10 Powerful Affirmations That Can Change Your Life

If you believe that you are what you feel, then life truly stems from your thoughts and emotions. Affirmations or the process of repeating positive words can boost your spirit to new levels. We must translate our thoughts into words and eventually into intention in order to manifest what we want in our reality. Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains and have the power to change people’s lives. Science also says that positive self-talk definitely brings about changes in the brain. Here are 10 powerful affirmations that can change your life.
1) I can achieve greatness
One of the most influential ones is to tell yourself on a daily basis that you can achieve all the greatness in life. Focus on your vision and dreams and then attach the emotion to that vision. By telling this to yourself and believing that you can achieve greatness, it will eventually turn into reality.

2) Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joyJoy starts from within not from outside of yourself. It also starts as soon as you rise. So make it habit to repeat this to yourself first thing in the morning.

3) I love and accept myself for who I am

Self love is meant to be the purest and the highest form of love. When you love yourself, you automatically start appreciating and respecting yourself. If you have confidence and pride in what you do, you will begin to see yourself in a new light and be encouraged and inspired to do bigger and better things.

4) My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil
A healthy body starts with a healthy mind and soul. If either suffers from negative emotions, the others will be affected. The number one cause of health or disease is you. You can also remove and revoke all permission that you have given consciously, subconsciously, to all the ills of the world because you share that pain. You are conquering your illness and defeating it steadily each day.
5) I believe I can do everything
You need to say this to yourself every day. Because this is something that is so important for counseling yourself to stay encouraged. By saying this, you are able to do anything and everything that you put your mind to.
6) Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good
There are no victims, no accidents and no coincidences EVER. They simply do not exist in this reality as you and others will only attract what you and they are a part of. So know from the bottom of your heart that everything happens for a reason and in perfect synchronicity. You are at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen. Your fears of tomorrow are simply melting away.
7) I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents
This is something that you should tell yourself when you wake up every morning. Every new day offers a fresh start and also makes an impact on others around you. You can make anything of that day that you like because you are the architect of your own life. If you begin your day with a positive thought and feeling it will transform your day into something incredible. Works every time.
8) I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them
That doesn’t mean you forget what they did, but you are at peace with what they did and the lessons served. Your strength to forgive is what allows you to move forward and your reaction to any experience is independent of what others think of you. You can forgive one thousand people and even if none of them forgive you, there will always be a sense of peace and freedom within you that they will never have until they share that sentiment. Your power to forgive them also instantly changes how they react to you.
9) My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinitePlain and simple, you have no limits but those you place on yourself. What kind of life do you want? What is stopping you? What barriers are you imposing on yourself? This affirmation will help you address all of the boundaries.
10) Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive onesRealize that any difficult time are only a short phase of life. This too shall pass along with your old habits as you take in the new. You are a fully adapting being with creative energy which surges through you and leads you to new and brilliant ideas and the mindset that allows that energy to flow.
Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.
Credits: PreventDisease