Indigenised model for suicide prevention, research & surveillance in the offing

 Indigenised model for suicide prevention, research & surveillance in the offing

Team L&M

To improve access to mental health in the districts of Karnataka, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), in collaboration with various departments of the Government of Karnataka and the Himalaya Wellness Company, is aiming to develop an indigenised pilot model framework for suicide prevention research and surveillance.

Titled SURveillance system to trAcK suicide and Self-HArm: SURAKSHA – A Community Based Suicide Prevention Model, this pilot program will assess the feasibility and acceptability of community-based suicide prevention programs and their cost-effectiveness across varied nodal stakeholder groups involving farmers, laborers, daily wage workers, student communities, media professionals, and women groups. It will also establish a cohort for future longitudinal studies, that is to repeatedly examine the same individuals to detect any changes that might occur over a period. Following the pilot research and feasibility study, the project will be scaled up to a state level in future.

Project Suraksha

According to a National Crime Report Bureau (NCRB) report 2021, Karnataka reported 13,056 suicides in the said period, a 6.5 per cent increase from the year 2020, which accounts for 8 per cent of the total suicides in India, and the rate of suicide in Karnataka is at 19.5 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 12 per cent

In the first phase, an indigenised research model of suicide prevention in the Channapatna taluk of Ramanagara district in Karnataka State will be worked out. It would come with a comprehensive surveillance system in the community that would include early identification, crisis intervention, and referral system. The program is in line with the “LIVE LIFE” program of WHO for suicide prevention.

Says Dr Pratima Murthy, Director, NIMHANS, “Suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society. These efforts must be inclusive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide.”

Adds Uma Mahadevan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Government of Karnataka, “Suicide imposes a great burden on the development of our country. In view of the shortage of mental health professionals to cater to the need of the growing population, projects like SURAKSHA can bring out comprehensive sustainable models and the opportunity for community involvement can be well utilized. We are happy to be a part of this initiative.”

Project Suraksha will be implemented in three phases: analyzing the existing comprehensive suicide prevention programs and current public health situation in the districts, workshops to develop culture/region-specific interventions, and implementation of the interventions.


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