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Offering hope and healing in the darkest moments, one call at a time

The Hyderabad-based Roshini helpline centre receives approximately 30 calls a day, with 10 involving individuals with suicidal intentions. Image for representational purpose only.

The Hyderabad-based Roshini helpline centre receives approximately 30 calls a day, with 10 involving individuals with suicidal intentions. Image for representational purpose only.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

A college professor found herself in the depths of despair, contemplating ending her life while she was alone at home. As she stood on the brink of making a decision, she got a lifeline. The professor decided to reach out to ‘Roshini’ suicide prevention helpline, which changed the course of her life.

The person on the other end of the helpline lent an ear to the distraught professor, patiently listening as she poured out her woes. Gradually, as the conversation unfolded, the professor’s grip on the step-ladder she was about to push away began to loosen. With the helpline’s support, she decided to get off the step-ladder and regain control over her life.

The following day, the professor, accompanied by her husband, visited the Roshini centre in Hyderabad. They met the volunteer who had been there for her during that critical moment. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the husband tearfully thanked the volunteer for saving his wife’s life.

Nirmala, the volunteer who convinced the professor against taking any extreme step, is among the 70 trained individuals working at the Hyderabad-based Roshini helpline centre. These volunteers undergo training to become empathetic and non-judgmental listeners. When individuals in crisis dial the helpline number, the volunteers guide them through their darkest thoughts, helping dispel the emotional clouds that shroud their minds and empower them to face their challenges with renewed strength.

When callers exhibit suicidal tendencies, Roshini volunteers go the extra mile. At the end of each call, they seek the individual’s consent to follow up within 24 hours, providing continuous support during their journey to recovery. “When we call them again and the same person answers it, we take it as a achievement,” says one of the volunteers.

On average, the Roshini helpline receives approximately 30 calls a day, with 10 involving individuals with suicidal intentions, three to five with concrete suicide plans, and the rest from people grappling with various forms of distress or depression. “The number increases during the examination season. We start getting calls from January itself where parents and students seek help from us,” says Ananda, a volunteer.

Tragically, higher educational institutions have already reported 20 student suicides in 2023, including nine cases from Central institutions and seven from the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). Kota, Rajasthan, has witnessed an average of three suicides each month, bringing the year’s total to 20 incidents.

“One may not realise but family problems are also one of the reasons children take this step. Nobody says it out loud that there is a problem in the family and children end up thinking that the quarrels are happening only in their family,” said Nirmala, a volunteer.

Every year, on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, Roshini provides a ray of hope with a call to shatter the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

In times of emotional breakdown, there is always someone ready to listen at Roshini’s helpline number. Reach out to them at 8142020033/44. The helpline operates from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

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