WORLD Suicide Prevention Day is an annual observance day held on September 10th to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention. The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 is “creating hope through action” and it underscores the crucial role individuals and organizations play in preventing suicide and providing support to those in crisis. In India, numerous NGOs have been at the forefront of this effort, making significant strides in raising awareness and offering assistance to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.

India has grappled with a growing suicide rate, particularly among its youth population. To combat this alarming trend, NGOs across the country have adopted multifaceted approaches to address the issue. They work tirelessly to promote mental health awareness, reduce stigma and provide crucial resources and support to those in need. These NGOs organize workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns to reach out to diverse audiences, including schools, colleges, workplaces and rural communities. Through these initiatives, they aim to educate people about the signs of suicidal ideation and the importance of seeking help. The message of hope and resilience is central to their efforts, emphasizing that there is support available and that recovery is possible.

Here are 5 NGOs that offer suicide prevention support: 

Minds Foundation

The Minds Foundation, established in March 2012, is dedicated to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness by offering education and affordable, high-quality care. This NGO focuses on rural communities, teachers, physicians and schoolchildren, employing evidence-based educational programs. To ensure lasting transformation, The Minds Foundation has devised a training program for Community mental health workers who collaborate with clinical partners to provide medical care to those in need within communities. Community mental health workers also sustain these efforts by continuing mental health education, organizing peer-support groups, collecting data and assisting individuals in treatment with their prognosis and treatment plans.

The organization envisions a world where anyone can seek mental health care without shame or embarrassment. To date, they have educated over 250,000 individuals across 150 communities, impacting 260 schools, 50,000 schoolchildren and 7,500 teachers. The Minds Foundation’s commitment to research and development is evident through 18 studies published in internationally-recognized medical journals and the involvement of 135 volunteers in on-the-ground grassroots research since its inception. To support Minds Foundation, donate here

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The Banyan

The Banyan is a pioneering NGO dedicated to holistic mental health solutions, addressing the complex facets of mental distress. They strive to establish replicable, sustainable care models encompassing emergency and acute medical, psychiatric, psychological and social support. These services are delivered through diverse settings, from street-based outreach to hospital and shelter-based programs, community-based outpatient care and inclusive long-term support for individuals with high needs. Crucially, The Banyan values service user feedback, involving them in program co-creation and audits. They adopt a well-being and development paradigm, focusing on enhancing overall quality of life rather than pathologizing mental health. 

Their mission centers on granting every individual the right to a dignified and meaningful life, irrespective of societal and structural barriers, especially for marginalized populations, including the poor and homeless. Through collaborative care, The Banyan enhances mental health access, leveraging partnerships with various stakeholders and promoting cost-effective, resource-efficient models. They also pioneer pathways for community inclusion, particularly for those in institutional spaces. To support The Banyan, donate here.

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The Live Love Laugh Foundation

The Live Love Laugh Foundation, established in 2015 by Deepika Padukone, is driven by the fundamental belief that no life should be lost due to mental illness. With a dedicated focus on stress, anxiety, and depression (SAD), the NGO has embarked on a mission to instill hope in individuals facing these challenges. The Live Love Laugh Foundation’s initiatives are a comprehensive approach to mental health, centering around awareness and destigmatization. Leveraging its considerable visibility and extensive network, the foundation normalizes conversations and reduces the societal stigma associated with mental illness. They combine expert knowledge with accessible information, making it easily digestible for diverse audiences.

The Live Love Laugh Foundation collaborates with like-minded organizations, harnessing the power of partnerships to implement their programs effectively. This approach ensures a collective effort towards mental health support. Notably, the NGO’s unique status as a charitable trust enables it not only to receive donations but also to fund other reputable organizations and programs. To support The Live Love Laugh Foundation, donate here.

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Mindroot Foundation

Founded in 2016, Mindroot Foundation has been making a significant impact on mental health awareness and support in Rajasthan. Through their school seminars, they educate students about mental health, emphasizing its importance in everyone’s lives. They cover common signs, symptoms and treatment options for mental health issues while shedding light on the role of stress and its impact. Additionally, the NGO sensitizes individuals about suicide prevention, raising awareness about the harm associated with addiction. 

Mindroot Foundation’s impact is impressive, having reached over 50,000 students and teachers in Rajasthan, averaging around 15,000 students annually. Their team includes a psychiatrist who not only delivers seminars but also provides crucial treatment and counseling. The NGO’s holistic approach extends beyond schools, encompassing various interventions for rural and slum areas, mental health awards, mobile clinics, community interventions, wellness initiatives and awareness campaigns. Mindroot Foundation is actively working on both primary and secondary prevention models, ensuring that mental health receives the attention and care it deserves. To support Mindroot Foundation, donate here.

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Gramya Resource Center for Women

Gramya Resource Center for Women is a vital NGO addressing the harrowing issue of farmer suicides in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. These suicides have inflicted profound suffering in farming communities that play a pivotal role in feeding the nation, yet are plagued by poverty and distress. Over the last four years, more than 3,500 farmers have taken their own lives in Telangana, and over 1,600 in Andhra Pradesh. The organization confronts this crisis by providing immediate assistance to the most distressed families, especially those affected by farmer suicides or agricultural calamities. They offer vital support, including children’s education assistance, mentorship programs and livelihood support, aiding families to rebuild their lives and futures.

Furthermore, Gramya Resource Center is proactive in preventing farmer distress by advocating for farmers’ rights and entitlements. They empower tenant farmers and women farmers to access essential resources and government schemes, ensuring they receive the support they deserve. Through awareness campaigns, government liaison and public engagement, the NGO seeks to create lasting change and offer hope to the farming communities battling debt and despair. To support Gramya Resource Center for Women, donate here

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How NGOs can help in suicide prevention

NGOs also play a pivotal role in engaging with various stakeholders, including government bodies, healthcare professionals and local communities. They advocate for improved mental health services, more accessible crisis helplines and better policies to address mental health issues. By collaborating with these stakeholders, NGOs work towards creating a supportive ecosystem that facilitates early intervention and treatment. Moreover, many NGOs in India offer helplines and online resources to provide immediate assistance to individuals in crisis. They ensure that help is just a phone call or click away, giving people a lifeline when they need it most.

World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme “creating hope through action” serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to prevent suicide. NGOs in India have been instrumental in raising awareness, reducing stigma and fostering a supportive environment for those in crisis. Their dedication to this cause is a testament to the power of collective action in saving lives and creating hope for a brighter future. If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out for help.

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