Kota, September 11, 2023 – In a collaborative effort to address mental health and raise awareness on suicide prevention, Allen Career Institute and the Kota Police department joined hands to organise an awareness program on “World Suicide Prevention Day”. The program themed “Creating Hope Through Action”, held on September 10th, shed light on the importance of mental health and strategies to reduce suicide rates, particularly among students.
The focal point of this program was an illuminating panel discussion, featuring a lineup of eminent individuals who shared profound insights into combatting the rising tide of mental health challenges. Panellists included Inspector General of Kota Police, Prasanna Kumar Khamesra; Kota City Police Commissioner, Sharad Chaudhary; the Principal of Kota Medical College, Dr. Sangeeta Saxena; Former Director of the Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences, Dr. Nimesh G. Desai; Chief Medical Health Officer Kota, Dr. Jagdish Soni; and psychiatrists Dr. M. L. Agrawal, Dr. Vinod Dadia, and Sadhvi Anadi Saraswati. The event also welcomed senior officers from Kota Police.
Naveen Maheshwari, Director, Allen Career Institute, said “We have consistently prioritized the mental well-being of our students. A student's journey involves numerous stakeholders, including parents, peers, teachers, local authorities and hostel staff. We have continuously worked towards establishing meaningful connections with all these stakeholders to support the mental well-being of our students. Our collaboration with Kota Police is another step in our ongoing commitment to empower parents, educators, and students with the necessary knowledge and resources to effectively address this issue.”
Inspector General Prasanna Kumar Khamesra of Kota Police highlighted a significant initiative aimed at addressing student stress within the community. Under this initiative, all police stations are equipped to identify students experiencing distress, promptly referring their cases to the dedicated Student Cell. This specialized unit comprises a team of skilled psychiatrists, senior medical officers, counselors, and doctors, providing essential support, counseling, and medical assistance. “Engaging in social activities is crucial for students, especially in a competitive environment where loneliness can lead to negative thoughts. By participating in programs like the Students Cell initiated by SP Kota Sharad Chaudhary, supported by the Rajasthan government and police, we can collectively address this pressing issue”, he said.
In an effort to de-stigmatise mental health issues, the panellists encouraged students not to hesitate in seeking support from psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors. "It is essential that students participate actively in society and connect with their families and people around them. I would like to tell students that talking to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor is not a bad thing. You should meet them and share your thoughts", said Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, Former Director of the Institute of Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences.
The program also saw discussions on the importance of early detection of mental distress among students and making interventions to prevent their mental health from deteriorating. “Recognizing and addressing issues promptly is paramount. Suicide is a global concern, occurring every 40 seconds. The World Health Organization underscores that it's a mental health issue in 99% of cases, often overlooked. Understanding shifts in students' behavior is crucial; those contemplating suicide often leave subtle signs. Detecting changes in someone's routine and seeking timely psychological intervention is the key to preventing such tragedies”, said psychiatrist Dr. M.L. Agarwal.
The partnership between Allen and Kota Police illustrates their joint dedication to a common goal: addressing mental health issues and preventing suicide within the student community. The “Creating Hope Through Action” program cultivated a spirit of togetherness and collective accountability in Kota, motivating participants to actively participate in suicide prevention initiatives.