BHUBANESWAR: With the trend of kids and youngsters falling prey to ‘suicidal games’ online on the rise, mental health experts and sociologists on Monday advised students and youths not to get hooked to social media and internet and be active socially in the real world. Speaking at the The New Indian Express (TNIE)-Manam Foundation organised ‘Working together to prevent suicide’ event on World Suicide Prevention Day here, the experts said spending much time on social media and internet is leading to behavioural change and isolation among youngsters and increasing vulnerability to suicide.
“Excessive use of social media and internet is a behavioural addiction which is the main cause of children and youngsters falling prey to suicidal games like Blue Whale and Momo. This behavioural addiction needs to be avoided,” said Associate Professor of Psychiatry at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar Dr BR Mishra.
The TNIE-Bhubaneswar as part of its social outreach organised the programme to bring focus on the issue as well as facilitate multi-sectoral engagement towards devising strategies for prevention of suicides.
It brought together DGP of Odisha Police Dr RP Sharma, sociologist and Dean Student Affairs of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar Prof Pranay Swain and mental health activist and Founder of Manam Foundation Anuradha Mahapatra to discuss the most concerning yet much neglected problem.
Dr RP Sharma, who graced the event as the chief guest, stressed the need to develop effective support systems to reach out to the people in need in time so that suicides can be prevented. Apart from medical interventions and counselling, empathy among family, friends towards the person is a must.
“A soft word spoken by a family member, a friend, a relative or someone close to the persons in distress helps much. The soothing words help in assuaging the negative thoughts in a emotionally-affected person and persuades him to drop the idea of suicide”, the DGP said while urging citizens to come together to work towards preventing self-killing.
Prof Pranay Swain in his address to the gathering spoke about the over dependency of individuals on gadgets and their ill effects on mental health.
“The over dependency on gadgets such as phone and tabs has taken over us, especially the lives of children in today’s generation, which is a matter of serious concern”, Swain said while advising the students to meet people and make friends in the real world instead of relying much on the virtual world.
The experts also spoke about the substance addiction like drugs and alcohol and how they have resulted in creating mental imbalance and developing suicidal tendencies. They stated that nearly eight lakh people commit suicide every year that works out to one individual in every 40 seconds and urged people to come together and work towards its prevention.
Anuradha Mahapatra stated the objective of the campaign was to create mass awareness among citizens on the vital issues. A series of programmes were held on different campuses over the last two weeks.
Deputy Resident Editor of TNIE-Bhubaneswar Siba Mohanty announced that the campaign for suicide prevention would be made an annual event.
He urged the Government and police to come up with a helpline that can assist persons in distress and work for immediate interventions to prevent suicides.
Winners of different competitions including poetry, story writing, photography, posters and slogan writing were presented with prizes on the occasion.