Farmer Suicide Prevention
To avert farmer suicides, little work has been done on factors other than economic or agricultural. Psychological and behavioural aspects are neglected by and far.
The preventive measures should be addressed on both social and economic fronts. Taking care of mental health of farming populace is crucial. The modes of agricultural production have improved to an advanced level but the impact on the cultural perspective of the rural masses is still too less. Economic development may not be sustained due to limited or negligible social development. We need social sector reforms on large footing.
Utshah: Action Plan
Utshah PAU is working for capacity building of farming families through a positive transformation of rural youth who are being identified and trained as Peer Support Volunteers (PSV). Operated by the Department of Agricultural Journalism, Languages and Culture, it is training the rural youth in volunteering for counselling the farmers in distress. Thus, it endeavours to: infuse the spirit to fight back among the farmers of Punjab in view of current agrarian distress; train its students as paraprofessionals to provide first aid by counselling the farmers in acute distress.
The training includes empowerment of farmers in terms of battling negative thoughts, enabling them with coping skills, financial literacy, etc. They are exhorted to lead a life of simplicity away from drugs, cultivate positive thinking, shun pomp and show on marriages / social functions, etc.
By providing scientifically developed peer support system for the farmers in distress not only they themselves come out of distress but also become pillars of support for others. This is helping in building of human capital formation in rural areas which is essential for the process of growth and development.
Peer support is a unique form of service based on mutual respect, sharing of experiences and empathy. Effective self- management is often short-lived. Peers can provide leadership and can serve as role models for sustained behavioural change.