World Suicide Prevention Day: NGO hosts ‘Hope Through Action’ festival’, aims to promote help-seeking

On World Suicide Prevention Day that is marked each year on September 10, a mental health NGO, Sangath, is hosting a two-day virtual event called ‘Mann Mela: Hope Through Action Festival’ to create awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

The theme of the World Suicide Prevention Day this year is “creating hope through action” with the aim to empower people with confidence to engage with the complex subject of suicide prevention. It also hopes to bring people to work together to create a movement of preventative action to drive behavioural change and, ultimately, prevent suicides.

The first day of the festival includes a workshop on understanding the intersection between mental health and gender and sexuality by Pooja Nair (Mariwala Health Initiative), skill-building workshops on suicide prevention and safety planning by Sachi Mulki (Sister Living Works), human centered design for storytelling by Avinash Kumar( Quicksand Design Studio) and mindfulness sessions by clinical psychologist Dr Eleanor Hogdson.

The second day includes a session on facilitating listening circles for group mental health support with psychologist Miriam Sequiera (Sangath), a special workshop on laws and civil rights related to mental health care by lawyer Arjun Kapoor (Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy), and an expressive arts workshop by Youth for Expressive Arts.

Attendees are also invited to join expert-delivered plenary lectures by Prof Vikram Patel, leading international mental health expert at Harvard Medical School, exploring the importance of storytelling for hope and inspiring action on September 10. Dr Soumitra Pathare, Director of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy, will deliver a keynote lecture on youth suicide prevention in India on September 11.

“There is a lot we can do to support our own mental health as well as those around us if we can learn the basics of how. It does not have to be very time-consuming nor overwhelming to learn or feel confident to do this. Our festival aims to highlight just this — through people’s personal experiences and through skill-building sessions. Our actions, both big and small, can give hope to those who are struggling and we invite you to join us to learn more.” says Pattie Gonsalves, who leads the project at Sangath.

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