Mumbai, September 2023: In commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Week, the Department of Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (DLHS) at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Bengaluru spearheaded a suicide awareness campaign, aimed at destigmatizing mental health concerns, fostering open dialogue, and amplifying awareness about suicide prevention. Embracing this year’s theme, “Creating hope through action,” MAHE orchestrated a series of impactful initiatives, ranging from enlightening talks to community rallies and an engaging creative poster-making competition.
In India, youth and student suicides have been a pressing concern due to various factors, including academic pressure, competition, social expectations, and mental health challenges. For college students, the transition to higher education often intensifies these stressors, with demanding coursework, intense academic competition, and the weighty decisions associated with their future careers. This transition period can be emotionally taxing, especially for individuals in need of mental health support.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India (ADSI) report, more than 13,000 students lost their lives in 2021, equating to over 35 suicides every day in India, ranking the country 41st in the list of nations with the highest suicide rates. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 700,000 suicides occur annually.
Dr. Shilpa Kalyan, Associate Professor and HoD, Department of Liberal Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, MAHE Bengaluru said, “In education, we possess the power to inspire, develop, and shape the minds of the future. Our responsibilities extend beyond textbooks and curricula to include the physical and emotional well-being of our students. We lay the foundation for their success and enjoyment by creating a loving and supportive atmosphere. This Suicide Awareness campaign demonstrates MAHE-Bengaluru’s dedication to addressing the pressing issue of suicide prevention while promoting a culture of hope, open communication, and community support.”
Throughout the week, DLHS conducted an engaging session with Dr Ashwini NV, Founder and Director of the Muktaa Charitable Foundation, a not-for-profit public trust founded by socially conscious citizens on September 13th. On September 14th, more than 100 psychology students organized a community awareness program, spreading slogans focused on creating hope through actions in a street play. The week concluded on September 15th with a poster-making competition, engaging the students of MAHE Bengaluru.
This initiative by MAHE Bengaluru serves as a crucial step in addressing the critical issue of suicide prevention, promoting mental health awareness, and fostering a sense of hope, unity, and open dialogue within the campus community.