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Sumithrayo commemorates World Suicide Prevention Day with ‘Take a minute-change a life’ programme

Sumithrayo provides Confidential Emotional Support and is a Free Service, open 365 days – from 9.00 a.m to 8.00 p.m (including Holidays).Call: 2692909, 2683555, 2696666. Visit: 60B Horton Place Colombo 7. Email: sumithra@sumithrayo.org

In 1995, Sri Lanka recorded the highest rate for suicides in the world. The Presidential Task Force was set up to mitigate this dismal statistic. Subsequent action helped to significantly reduce the number of suicides from 47 to 16 per 100,000 by 2014. However, the number of suicides is  still high. Globally, 800,000 suicides are reported annually. This number is higher compared to those killed as a result of wars or homicides. It also means there’s a suicide every 40 seconds. The year 2017 marks the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day and it is endorsed by the World 
Health Organization.   
This year Sumithrayo is commemorating ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ on September 10 with a programme from 5 to 8 pm at Independence Square. The programme- titled ‘Take a minute-Change a life’ - is conducted to motivate the nation to help reduce the number of suicides.The programme is open to the general public.

This year Sumithrayo is commemorating ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ on September 10 with a programme from 5 to 8 pm at Independence Square


Activities include a dramatic presentation by the Rotary Club of Sri Jayawardenepura University, compelling video cuts from survivors and a panel discussion by eminent professionals. The team of professionals comprises Chief Guest WHO Representative in Sri Lanka Dr. Razia Pendse, Thirupathy Suveendran of WHO Colombo, MOH, Govt. Addiction Centre Killinochchi Hospital Dr. Velauthapillai Jegaruban and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Neil Fernando. The discussion will be followed by a question and answer session to motivate more people to spare a minute and help someone who may be vulnerable. Winning entries of the art competition for youth, organized by Sumithrayo to mark the ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’, will be on display. The winners will receive prizes. At 8 o’clock candles will be lit to remember loved ones lost, suicide survivors and to show support for suicide prevention.   
Sumithrayo, established in 1974, has been providing emotional support to people in distress for the past 42 years.  About 150 distressed persons contact the office each week. Its officials either visit, write, telephone or use the e-mail in their efforts to bring comfort to their lives. It helps a person in distress when someone listens to their worries, fears and anxieties.   At Sumithrayo kind and caring volunteers offer their time and expertise to provide consolation to the distressed. The Centre is open 365 days of the year from 9 am to 8 pm. Anyone may walk in or telephone Sumithrayo during these hours to seek assistance. Barriers such as class, race, and religion, political or sexual leanings are non-existent when Sumithrayo deals with people in distress. Every caller will be provided with emotional support in an atmosphere of total confidentiality. The service provided is free.   
Devoted to respond when people are in a crisis and focusing on preventing suicide, Sumithrayo’s volunteers endeavour to take every person in crisis seriously. The goal of all who work here is to empower callers and help them make life-enhancing choices. Today in Sri Lanka, 8-10 persons on an average die by suicide every day. And when a person dies by suicide, somewhere else at least 10 others have failed in their attempt to take their lives.   

 

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