CHENNAI: Copycat behaviour will lead to many suicides, and again this will happen if media sensationalises suicides. There is a standard guideline of World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) on how to report suicides in the media, says Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder trustee of SNEHA.
Speaking to media on Thursday Lakshmi said media should follow the guidelines while reporting suicides. The copycat behaviour would lead to many suicides, Lakshmi said.
"Suppose if an agitated student commits suicide, a few other students also will try to follow at the peak of agitation. So sensationalism should be avoided diligently. Or else it will have a ripple effect on the depressed, resulting in imitative behaviour," the Lakshmi added.
The NGO also has plans to approach the government on extending centralised pesticide storage facilities to other districts in Tamil Nadu. Lakshmi was explaining how this project funded by WHO in 2010 helped reduce suicides in two villages in Tamil Nadu. Pesticides are considered the single most important means of suicides worldwide.
Centralised pesticide storage made a difference. It reduced the suicides in the two villages from 25 in 2010 to 5 in 2012 and to zero after that, she added.
"Now we are planning to see the feasibility of extending this project to other villages, if the government helps," Lakshmi added.
SNEHA will organise "Suicide update 2016", a three-day meet during February 26-28 on the developments in suicide prevention in commemoration with 30 years of SNEHA. The meet will focus on the clinical aspects of suicide for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals and workshop for volunteers and crisis line workers.