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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Parents flood helplines for info on signs of depression Recent Spate Of Suicides Sparks Worry

Mumbai: Helplines were busy throughout Wednesday, with most calls coming from worried parents, following cases of suicide in the city. Students who got their results recently and those awaiting results also called, while parents have been asking about warning signs of depression.
    "People have realized that they play a vital role in ensuring they don't lose their loved ones to depression or suicide. We receive 40 calls a day from anxious parents unaware of signs of depression. We have been helping them the best we can," said Seema Hingorrany, aclinical psychologist.
    She said that the increased calls were because it was the "result season" combined with suicides in the city recently. "Most times, parents need more help than children
and we therefore recommend parents undergo therapy along with their children to improve their bond," she said.
    Psychiatrists pointed out that the suicides have sparked anew worry among people, especially single parents. "The helplessness of the city is at its peak and people are clueless about who to seek help from," said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. He added that media
exposure to the alleged suicide of actress Jiah Khan could push those on the edge to take the extreme step. "Thankfully, many people are turning to helplines before taking any extreme step. This highlights the loneliness in the city as more and more people are turning to strangers for help as they have no one trustworthy to fall back on," added Shetty.
    The Vandervala Founda
tion runs a 24/7 helpline and its counselors have noticed an increase in genuine callers over the past few weeks.
    "The exam and result seasons usually give many students reason to call and share their anxieties. However, of late, there has been an equal increase in parents seeking information about suicide prevention or timely detection of the first signs of depression," said Dr Arun John, executive vice-president of the foundation. He added that most callers now wait till evening to make calls and share their problems.
    "Everybody waits to be alone—either after work or after college—so that they can talk freely about their problems," said John. He said while some calls can last for more than an hour, the average call length on their helpline lasts 20 to 24 minutes.
    "People have to accept that everybody is living a highly stressful life and needs help sometime in life. The best way to tackle the problem is by being aware and ready to help each other," said Hingorrany.

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