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Monday, September 13, 2021

Your Rights At The Medical Store

 #WSPD2021 #AasraHelpsinSuicidePrevention #WHO #IASP #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA #JohnsonThomas

In India,
- 43%, the largest share of household expenditure on health, is incurred on purchase of medicines.
- 7% of Indians fall below the poverty line just because of indebtedness due to health expenditure.
- 23% of those who fall sick can't afford healthcare.

One of the major reasons is the high cost of medicines that are sold in the market. While there are many reasons for the high cost of medicines, one of the major reasons is the functioning of medical stores.

Most of us purchase medicines at the local medical store/pharmacy, however many of us are unaware of the rules and regulations that the medical store has to follow and our rights while purchasing medicines.
Some of us concerned about this have brought out a information booklet, “Your Rights at the Medical Store” that provides information on consumers' rights at the medical store, who is a pharmacist, how to identify a medical store, responsibilities of medical stores and pharmacists and where to approach in case of complaints (booklet attached). Our efforts have been to raise awareness on consumer rights and exercising them.
We request you to disseminate this booklet widely and share it with your friends, colleagues, relatives, patient/consumer organisations and other groups who may benefit from this booklet. You may wish to share it on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various social, print and visual media. All contents of this booklet can be reproduced, copied, or translated without permission; however, an acknowledgment would be appreciated.
Thanking you in advance and hoping that it would make a small difference in the health care system of our country. (coutesy #SunilNandraj)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Suicides on the Rise all across the world

 #WSPD2021 #AasraHelpsinSuicidePrevention #WHO #IASP #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA #JohnsonThomas

WHO guidance to help the world reach the target of reducing suicide rate by 1/3 by 2030

17 June 2021 
News release
Reading time: 3 min (898 words)

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to WHO’s latest estimates, published today in “Suicide worldwide in 2019”. Every year, more people die as a result of suicide than HIV, malaria or breast cancer  ̶  or war and homicide. In 2019, more than 700 000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, prompting WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care.

“We cannot – and must not – ignore suicide,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months living with the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide   ̶   job loss, financial stress and social isolation – still very much present. The new guidance that WHO is releasing today provides a clear path for stepping up suicide prevention efforts.”

Among young people aged 15-29, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death after road injury, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.

Rates vary, between countries, regions, and between males and females.

More than twice as many males die due to suicide as females (12.6 per 100 000 males compared with 5.4 per 100 000 females). Suicide rates among men are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100 000). For females, the highest suicide rates are found in lower-middle-income countries (7.1 per 100 000).

Suicide rates in the WHO African (11.2 per 100 000), European (10.5 per 100 000) and South-East Asia (10.2 per 100 000) regions were higher than the global average (9.0 per 100 000) in 2019. The lowest suicide rate was in the Eastern Mediterranean region (6.4 per 100 000).

Globally, the suicide rate is decreasing; in the Americas it is going up

Suicide rates fell in the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36%, with decreases ranging from 17% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to 47% in the European Region and 49% in the Western Pacific.

But in the Americas Region, rates increased by 17% in the same time period.

Although some countries have placed suicide prevention high on their agendas, too many countries remain uncommitted. Currently only 38 countries are known to have a national suicide prevention strategy. A significant acceleration in the reduction of suicides is needed to meet the SDG target of a one-third reduction in the global suicide rate by 2030.


To support countries in their efforts, WHO is today releasing comprehensive guidance for implementing its LIVE LIFE approach to suicide prevention. The four strategies of this approach are:

  • limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms;
  • educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide;
  • fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and
  • early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

Banning of the most dangerous pesticides: a high-impact intervention

Given that pesticide poisoning is estimated to cause 20% of all suicides, and national bans of acutely toxic, highly hazardous pesticides have shown to be cost-effective, such bans are recommended by WHO. Other measures include restricting access to firearms, reducing the size of medication packages, and installing barriers at jump sites.

Responsible reporting by the media

The guide highlights the role the media plays in relation to suicide. Media reports of suicide can lead to a rise in suicide due to imitation (or copycat suicides) – especially if the report is about a celebrity or describes the method of suicide.

The new guide advises monitoring of the reporting of suicide and suggests that media counteract reports of suicide with stories of successful recovery from mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts. It also recommends working with social media companies to increase their awareness and improve their protocols for identifying and removing harmful content.

Support for adolescents

Adolescence (10-19 years of age) is a critical period for acquiring socio-emotional skills, particularly since half of mental health conditions appear before 14 years of age. The LIVE LIFE guidance encourages actions including mental health promotion and anti-bullying programmes, links to support services and clear protocols for people working in schools and universities when suicide risk is identified.

Early identification and follow-up of people at risk

Early identification, assessment, management and follow-up applies to people who have attempted suicide or are perceived to be at risk. A previous suicide attempt is one of the most important risk factors for a future suicide.

Health-care workers should be trained in early identification, assessment, management and follow-up. Survivors’ groups of people bereaved by suicide can complement support provided by health services. Crisis services should also be available to provide immediate support to individuals in acute distress.

The new guidance, which includes examples of suicide prevention interventions that have been implemented across the world, in countries such as Australia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the USA, can be used by anyone who is in interested in implementing suicide prevention activities, whether at national or local level, and in the governmental and nongovernmental sectors alike.

“While a comprehensive national suicide prevention strategy should be the ultimate goal for all governments,” said Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, suicide prevention expert at the World Health Organization, “starting suicide prevention with LIVE LIFE interventions can save lives and prevent the heartbreak that follows for those left behind.” 

Child suicides on rise in Kerala, ‘Ninavu’ to address issue

377 children ended lives during lockdown, President’s medal winner among them

Published: 11th September 2021 02:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2021 02:51 AM  |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: The state has recorded the death by suicide of a staggering 377 children in the Covid-induced lockdown period. As per the statistics of State Crime Records Bureau, 324 children under 18 years took the extreme step in 2020 and another 53 between January and April this year. Last year’s is the highest figure reported in the last five years.

Comprehending the seriousness of the situation, the state women and child development (WCD) department on Friday rolled out ‘Ninavu’, a suicide prevention programme under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. “The failure in the functioning of family as an entity as well as certain lacunae in the society in general causes serious problems for children,” said T V Anupama who was transferred from the post of WCD director two days back.

An exhaustive study on the child suicides in the state between January 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 led the government to launch Ninavu. As many as 158 children died during the period, of whom girls constituted 57%. Children in the 15-18 age group killed themselves the most. A majority of the children were studying in government schools (48%) and governmentaided schools (30%).

Another important finding was that 74% of the children were staying with their biological parents and only 9% with single parent when they committed suicide. The study carried out by the committee headed by former DGP R Sreelekha had pointed out the lack of inadequate support systems within the family for the situtation. Among the 158 suicide cases, the reason was unknown in 41.

“Fifty of the children who died by suicide were good in studies. Among them, one had even got the President’s award, another one was a class leader and yet another one a student police cadet. This reveals that the teachers and parents never addressed the issues of active and smart children,” says the report.

Ninavu aims to set up a suicide- prevention cell which will aim at addressing the problems faced by the children in the beginning itself, besides developing feasible strategies, protocols and conduct screening for preventing suicide, early identification and interventions for highrisk groups and strengthen the capacity for developing positive mental health among children.

Friday, September 10, 2021

How the pandemic has exacerbated the Mental health condition of Indians

 How the pandemic has exacerbated the Mental health condition of Indians

by Johnson Thomas, Director of Aasra- an Internationally renowned NGO located in Mumbai, working in the field of crisis intervention and areas of emotional and mental health :

Current ongoing research has revealed evidence that COVID-19 pandemic has had profound psychological and social effects which is expected to last for months, if not years ( and depends entirely on how well we are able to manage the pandemic). The psychological ill effects on the population include increasing distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression and insomnia. Unplanned Lockdowns have increased the levels of social isolation, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties and this could well lead to depression, frequent anxiety attacks, increased instances of substance abuse, domestic violence, suicidal events and other psychiatric disorders in the vulnerable populations as well as healthcare professionals. Stress-related psychiatric conditions including mood and substance use disorders are associated with suicidal behaviour. COVID-19 has taken many lives and even its survivors may be at an elevated suicide risk. The COVID-19 crisis has also increased suicide rates during the first two waves and people could well be vulnerable even after the pandemic. Hence Mental health issues and suicidal behaviour are likely to be prevalent for a long time. To reduce suicides during the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative to decrease stress, anxiety, fears and loneliness in the general population. The Government must play the leading role in not only encouraging citizens to avail of available professional help but also increase its investment in developing mental health infrastructure throughout the country. There should be traditional and social media campaigns to promote mental health and reduce distress. Active outreach is necessary, especially for people with a history of psychiatric disorders, COVID-19 survivors and older adults. There must also be an increased allocation of funds into research on mental health consequences and how these can be offset by a well-co-ordinated and organised Mental Health and Suicide Prevention strategy in order to bring the affected population back from the brink.

NGO's can’t do everything. They can provide food, mental health support, help strengthen communities but they cannot be a crutch for a system that fails to take care of its own. Their services are mainly concentrated around offering support in a welfare state. NGOs have limited resources and the problem of mental health needs strong institutional, corporate and governmental efforts. Mental health issues are increasing at a pace that NGOs alone can't manage. The post pandemic world has thrown up even more mental health challenges. So unless concerted efforts from the Top are forthcoming we are going to live in a world where an unmanageable number of people are going to be affected.


One thing I can share is that the profile of the caller has changed since the pandemic. Earlier we had a lot more students and young adults battling depression and suicidal ideation due to peer pressure, exams, results, broken romances or relationship problems. But now we get calls from people of all age groups struggling with survival/existential issues ; Unemployment, loss of jobs and income, huge unpayable debts, inability to provide food or shelter for their loved ones. The current economic climate has driven the marginalized, the middle class and in some cases, even the so called rich into crisis after crisis from which they see no way out. In order to augment their losses a large number of young people even fall prey to online scams –be it betting apps or other forms of online lures amounting to frauds.

Most suicide prevention centres are doing their best to save lives but it's nowhere near enough. The government needs to be more proactive about its mental health goals. The Mental health program needs a huge influx of funds in order to create, build and support sustainable systems that care for those disadvantaged by mental health issues. And only a government that cares for its people can do that.  A National Suicide Prevention Strategy is the need of the hour. As of now there is no such universal strategy in place. Mental health services are also not easily accessible and wherever they are, it’s too expensive for the common man to avail of. So, much more is needed to be done where mental health services are concerned. “While a comprehensive national suicide prevention strategy should be the ultimate goal for all governments,” said Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, suicide prevention expert at the World Health Organization, “starting suicide prevention with LIVE LIFE interventions can save lives and prevent the heartbreak that follows for those left behind.” 

#WSPD2021 #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA

 #WSPD2021 #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA

Thursday, September 9, 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day Webinar on 9th Sept 2021 6 pm IST

 #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA

*"National Suicide Prevention Forum"* and **Empathetic Angels** are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting on occasion of "World Suicide Prevention Day".
Topic: Depression and Suicide Prevention in current Covid Pandemic Scenario...
Chief Speaker:- *Johnson Thomas,* Director of " *Aasra* ".
25 years experience in Counselling and Helpline.
Time: Sep 9, 2021 06:00 PM Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi
Meeting ID: 770 5983 7391
Passcode: 39i8m4

World Suicide Prevention Day Sept 10th 2021 Decriminalising Suicide: Reducing Stigma, Saving Lives.

 #WSPD2021 #aasra24x7helplinefordepressedandsuicidal919820466726 #aasradotinfo #AASRA

As we approach World Suicide Prevention Day this Friday, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has been priviledged to support United for Global Mental Health with the launch of a new report, Decriminalising Suicide: Reducing Stigma, Saving Lives.

Suicide remains a criminal offence in 20 countries, with some laws dating as far back as 160 years ago. The report surveys the legal structures in each of the 20 countries where suicide is a criminal offence. It explains what the repercussions are for someone who attempts suicide and explores national efforts to reform legislation.

You can find out more about the report on the UnitedGMH website here, and we encourage you to promote this on social media.

Right now, there is a historic opportunity to press for reform with the world agreeing to reduce suicide through the Sustainable Development Goals, and governments committing to decriminalising suicide through endorsement of the WHO Global Mental Health Action Plan 2020-2030.

We hope that the publication of this report will help those campaigning for decriminalisation of suicide make progress and ensure that everyone, everywhere, who needs support for their mental health can access it, free of stigma and discrimination.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2021