Workshop on farmer suicide prevention

Workshop on farmer suicide prevention

Ludhiana. June 5

“Talking about suicide doesn’t make one suicidal”. This was stated here by Dr. Gurinder Kaur Sangha, Dean, Post Graduate Studies, PAU while addressing the participants of workshop-cum-training of National Agricultural Science Fund project on farmer suicide prevention. She underlined the importance of taking care of mental health of farmers of Punjab. We must openly talk about the mental health issues and not treat them as guilty secrets to be pushed under the carpet.

A total of 41 rural youth including students, farmers and teachers who are working as Peer Support Volunteers (PSVs) from all over the state attended the one-day advanced workshop. The participants were trained in providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) to the farmers in distress due to debt, crop burning, estranged family relations, drugs, etc. The PSVs are working as para-professionals who provide free counselling services in their villages or to their peers at workplaces.

Dr Sangha also honoured six volunteers namely Satwinder Singh (Faridkot), Mehak Walia (Pathankot), Manjot Kaur (Barnala), Ramandeep Singh (Bathinda), Narinder Kumar (Sri Muktsar Sahib) and Daljeet Kaur (Ludhiana) for doing spirited volunteering under the project.

Dr. Sarabjeet Singh, Principal Investigator (PI) of the project and Professor of Journalism, Department of Agricultural Journalism, Languages and Culture, PAU stated that untreated depression is the major cause of suicides. If depression is cured in time, many lives can be saved. For this he gave slogan – Karoge Gal Milega Hal (Share your worries and you may get solution). A problem shared is a problem halved. If you will talk, you will get a solution. A dejected man must talk and we must listen to him. Give warmth, show hope and find solution. If someone is prone to depression then don’t let it go casually. A small effort of love and empathy can cure the suicidal behaviour. It is time to strengthen our familial bonds and to nourish a feeling of brotherhood in our society. A Swedish proverb illuminates that “Shared joy is a double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Ms. Sumedha Bhandari, Co-PI held an interactive session on practical tips to handle stress. She emphasised that by just writing that I am disturbed due to these reasons can be first step to recovery. After listing problems then search in for possible solutions. Focus more on solutions than on problems only.

Dr. Ravijot Kaur, Senior Research Fellow, discussed various slogans designed by the project. PSVs suggested improvement and they were asked to make more such messages that touch the hearts of distressed farmers. Mr. Hityant Rishi, Senior Research Fellow, discussed frequently asked questions of PSVs and answered their queries.

The project is nick named as Utshah i.e. enthusiasm where in rural youth are encouraged to be volunteers and spread the message of positivity in their surroundings. Books on Saade Viah Saade Bhog and slogans cards, leaflets etc were distributed free of cost to the participants.