The Candid Eye

January 29, 2010

Hold on guys, help is here!!

Art of Living Foundation’s counselling helpline for youth and parents, which began operations last week, averaged 70 calls a day.

It was early afternoon on Friday when the phone rang for the first time at the Art of Living’s (AoL) Hopeline office in Camp. A young volunteer picked up the phone and heard a girl’s shaky voice.

Art of Lliving bangalore

“I need help,” said the 20-something on the other line and thus began the journey of Pune’s first 24-hour helpline.Alarmed by the rising number of student suicides and just days after foundation Chief Sri Sri Ravi Shankar left the city after public discourses, AoL Foundation started the helplines across three locations in the city.

“We receive an average of 70 calls daily. The callers are mostly youngsters seeking help for depression — sometimes with suicidal thoughts. Our job is to first listen to them, let them speak their heart out, relate to them and finally get them to come to us for counselling,” said Dinesh Ghodge, Director, World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, AoL.

Stress management

Besides offering temporary counselling through the helpline service, the foundation also offers various free courses for the youngsters on how to manage stress on a long-term basis.

“We convince them to come into our office, because that’s where the real counselling takes place. We integrate them into our free courses that prepares them to deal with situations on a long-term basis, so the question of calling a helpline or having suicidal thoughts doesn’t arise again,” said Pooja Tirke, teacher and volunteer at AoL Hopeline.

Until recently, Pune had only one helpline run by Connecting, an NGO that operated the service between 2 pm to 8 pm to handle callers with suicidal thoughts.

Source: Mid Day

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