10th September is Suicide Prevention Day, so we spoke to some suicide helpline workers to learn their process and experience.
What Made You Choose This Stream Of Work?
"I had struggled with depression for a few years when I was younger, and I had nobody I could talk to. When I brought it up with my parents they ridiculed me and said that everyone has to deal with this stuff." Chinmayee told us.
"I came across the hotline number a few years later, and when I called them I finally felt heard. There was no judgement, no questions. I felt like I had a listening ear and that was so important at the time. That's when I decided I want to do this for others. I want to help others through the same thing I went through." she completed.
"People take on stress in very different manners, some smoke others just work on their hobbies but sometimes things go out of hand and stress becomes unbearable. Making people realize that they have someone who cares, someone who will listen is so important and I wanted to do that. So I looked into a job profile where I could do that, and I ended up here." Reshma said.
What Is The Process To Be A Volunteer?
"It's not that difficult honestly, you need to have an educational background in psychology, sociology or communication. Then once you apply there is an orientation and training program that helps you through the process." Reshma shared.
"The basic factors are that you have a sense of empathy and understanding. Taking up this job should be voluntary because when you truly care about someone, even without any attachments, the job becomes easier."
Chinmayee said - "There are training calls and guided help calls that we do during our training sessions. These sessions give us a great insight on what we're dealing with. People of all sorts call us, from students to businessmen, everyone. There is no age restriction or gender restriction. You just have to be willing to bring change in their lives."
What Is The Toughest Part Of Your Job?
"Everything. Imagine a job where you feel responsible for the life and death of someone else. That's always hard. It's almost scary sometimes. I feel like I'm in charge of saving someone, but that's what I had to unlearn. I had to realize that I can do my best to make someone realize that they are worthy, but I can't save their life per say. I can just make them realize that." Reshma reckoned.
"It's just horrible when a caller hangs up on a loose end. One moment they will be talking about how they want to end it all, and just as I am about to comfort them, they hang up. The fear that comes from that line disconnecting is unreal. And it happens so many times, we don't know what decision they made and we have to live with that." Chinmayee added.
Working at a suicide prevention hotline is a taxing job, and the responsibility that comes with it is extremely stressful but the work they do is commendable. Suicide Prevention Day is a great reminder that life can be difficult but there's always a way out.
If you or a loved one are struggling to cope with your stress, here are some hotline numbers in India that you can call for comfort:
022 2754 6669