World Suicide Prevention Day: New app aims to help those with emotional distress
Mumbai doctors, on Sunday, launched a free mobile application, which will direct people in emotional distress to a nearest helpline centre.
The application called ‘emotional support helpline directory’ available on Playstore, was launched to mark the World Health Organisation declared World Suicide Prevention Day, which raises awareness about how suicides are preventable.
It features contact information of more than 50 suicide prevention helplines numbers operating across India and displays the closest helpline near the user.
Dr Milan Balakrishnan, psychiatrist at JUNO clinic, Khar, who conceptualised the application along a friend, said, “A very basic form of this application was created a year back, but this year, we developed it properly with the help of an IT professional,” he said.
He added that all the numbers put on the application were double-checked.
“A person who commits suicides, often ends life with an impulse, but he or she may have thought about it a hundred times before. If you think that a friend looks worried and doesn’t want to open up, you can always send them the link to see if they find an outlet,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
According to WHO’s first global report on suicide prevention published in 2014, more than 8,00,000 people die by suicide every year, around one person every 40 seconds. The report adds that some 75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The report added that India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides globally in 2012. Pesticide poisoning, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
Dr Niti Sapru, president of Bombay Psychaitric Society, called it a great step towards generating awareness about mental health problems. “Prior studies have shown that phone-based helplines are a significant intervention in preventing suicide,” she said.