The volunteers at Sneha, a self help group in R. A. Puram which has been working in the field of suicide intervention for more than 25 years, are all geared up to receive phone calls from distressed students and parents. The centre has been receiving an average of 15 calls per day from students for the past few weeks.
The director of Sneha – Srikumar talks about how they help these students, “We do something call befriending, not counselling. We believe when a person ventilates his feelings, he feels better and this helps him look at other options. We don’t take decisions for the callers but we do ask them to come up with solutions and this gives them hope”.
“We receive calls both from brilliant students who are worried about loosing that one mark and from students who are not able to score because of poor economic conditions. With all calls, we are non – judgemental and non- critical. The caller has absolute confidentiality and anonymity”. adds Srikumar.
The centre has about 50 volunteers who man the helpline on a shift basis. Anybody can walk in without an appointment (from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.) on all days. Their helpline (24640050 and 24640060) is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Sneha needs volunteers at its centre. To become a volunteer you need to
– be above 20 years of age
– be a resident of Chennai
– have a working knowledge of Tamil and English
-be able to spend four hours continously per week at the center.
The centre is located at 11, Park View Road, R. A. Puram.