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Suicides: PAU appeals for restraint, cites WHO norms

Ludhiana : Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Vice Chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon today urged the media to follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on reporting suicides. He said the norms specified that the suicide method or spot should not be mentioned, while photos of the deceased or of the victim’s note should be avoided. As per the guidelines, the news reports/headlines should not glorify, sensationalise or normalise suicide. Dr Dhillon said the media could play a proactive role in helping prevent suicide by highlighting mental health services and helplines, besides conveying the message that depression was curable. The university will launch an awareness drive regarding World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on September 10, in response to a call by the WHO and the International Association for Suicide Prevention.Dr Gurinder Kaur Sangha, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, said the departments of journalism and sociology were working together to prepare a blueprint to sensitise people, particularly farmers, on building resilience.The university’s Department of Agricultural Journalism, Languages and Culture has been identified as a lead centre for a suicide prevention project under the aegis of the National Agricultural Science Fund of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.The project, “Addressing farmers’ suicide through capacity building of farming families”, aims at involving peer support volunteers, who will be trained to provide psychological first aid to distressed farmers in their villages. The project is being undertaken in Punjab, Maharashtra and Telangana.

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