Suicide prevention committee offering vital lifeline in RAK

The Indian Relief Committee has launched an initiative to help troubled residents in the emirate

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -Interview with Dr. Nisham Noorudheen, President Indian Relief Committee, Chairman Medical Camp at the Indian Relief Committee launch suicide prevention hotline and organize a medical camp in Ras Al Khaimah.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Ruba Haza's story
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Caring residents in Ras Al Khaimah are banding together to bring hope out of tragedy after setting up a suicide prevention taskforce to come to aid of those in troubled times.

Social workers at the Indian Relief Committee (IRC) decided to take action after being rocked by the death of a friend, a father-of-three from the emirate, who is believed to have taken his own life earlier this month.

Prasad Sreedharan, a social worker at the IRC, said the shocking death prompted him and his colleagues to launch plans for a committee and helpline to provide a vital network of support.

Mr Sreedharan said the death of his friend, a man at the heart of the community who helped to organise many social activities, made him determined to prevent more needless loss of life.

“He was very much involved in many social activities in RAK,” said Mr Sreedharan.

“We lost him two weeks back and this tragic incident has raised our concerns and made us realise that we have to do something for the public to prevent such incidents from happening again,” said Mr Sreedharan.

Sethunath A.K, another social worker at IRC who is part of the campaign, said people contemplate suicide due to a number of factors - from financial concerns to mental health problems - and the committee will be comprised of experts equipped to deal with a variety of issues.

“There are various reasons that could lead to committing suicide such as legal issues, business loss, debt, homesick, mental stress and health problems,” he said.

“We decided to form a committee that can help dealing with all the problems with the help of specialised people and experts along with dedicating a toll-free helpline.”

The Indian community in RAK has never forgotten about a family believed to have committed murder-suicide in 2011 due to financial hardship.

“We have never forgotten that heart-breaking incident and we should do our best to prevent suicide attempts by standing next to each other and providing all kinds of support,” said Sethunath A.K.


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Dr Nisham Nooradheen, president of IRC, said that free legal consultations, counselling, healthcare and medicines will be part of the range of services offered by the suicide prevention committee, along with financial support.

“Our government has already got a 24-hour hotline to help distressed Indians but they should be more aware of that services existence along with the services that we will provide in co-ordination with the consulate,” said Dr Nooradheen.

The initiative is expected to be launched next month in line with the start of the 2019 Year of Tolerance.

“Regarding the financial help, we are planning to investigate every case or issue and according to the findings we will call upon businessmen, philanthropist and charity organisations to help after submitting the committee recommendations,” said Dr Nooradheen.

One of the suicide prevention committee members said that a number of doctors will provide free check-ups and medication for chronic illness patients to ease their burdens.

“Labourers may have some medical problems and chronic illnesses in which they might not be able to buy medicine and we can help them with that and if they are suffering from chronic mental depression we will be able to counsel them and provide the suitable medication,” said Dr George Jacob, who is also the president of Association of Kerala Medical Graduates.

The committee is planning to reach out to the public through social media, schools and labour accommodations, along with organising awareness sessions.

An Indian community member said that such initiatives will save many lives.

“We all remember the tragic family suicide incident that happened seven years ago and by organising a committee to lend a helping hand to those in need is something very important and much appreciated,” said Dhanaya Santhosh, a 32-year-old Indian teacher.

The Indian Relief Committee has also organised a free medical camp last week that provided medical check-ups, consultations and free medication to about 3,800 people from different nationalities in a single day.

“it’s our way to give back to the community, support each other and stand by one another during all the circumstances,” said Dr Nooradheen.