Consultation workshop on National Suicide Prevention Action Plan

A consultation workshop with the stakeholders of Province 2 was held on 13 December 2021 at Janakpur. The objective of this workshop was to discuss and receive feedback on the first draft of the ‘National Suicide Prevention Action Plan’, prepared by the National Planning Commission Nepal and facilitated by TPO Nepal. A total of 21 participants participated in the workshop which lasted four hours.

The workshop was facilitated by Rajesh Poudel from TPO Nepal Janakpur. After the welcome and formal seating program by the facilitator, Mr. Danikant Jha, Section Chief of Province 2 Provincial Policy and Planning Commission gave a welcome speech. “We always give priority to other issues but usually neglect the critical issue of suicide.  We need to focus on managing the increase in suicide that increased especially during the COVID-19 lockdown”, said Mr. Jha. He also requested the participants to give as many inputs as possible on the first draft so that the context of Province 2 is also included in the national action plan.

After this, Dr. Sagun Ballav Pant from Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) gave a presentation on suicide and suicide prevention. His presentation focused on the definition, data, and current context of suicide and the worldwide and national efforts in suicide prevention. Likewise, Dr. Pant also gave another presentation on the first draft of the national suicide prevention action plan. The participants asked some questions about the plan which were then answered by Dr. Pant.

The presentation was followed by group work among the participants. They were divided into three groups to collect feedback on the draft. The first group presented on the activities that the local level could do for suicide prevention. Similarly, the second group presented on the province level activities for suicide prevention, and the third group presented on the strategy and action plan.

Some of the feedback received from the group work were as follows:

  • Identification of people and organizations working in mental health
  • Mapping of psychosocial counselors and psychosocial counseling centers
  • Preparation of a rapid response team/helpline
  • Discussion of mental health among stakeholders during planning meetings
  • Conduct awareness programs (such as radio programs, rallies, drama, home visits, etc.) every 3 months
  • Send official letters to the insecticide shops within the Palika asking them to sell it to certain age groups only
  • Include mental health within the manifesto of every political party
  • Follow-up and provide counseling to people who have previously attempted suicide
  • Build the capacity of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) in this sector
  • Recruit a psychosocial counselor in every service providing facility within the local level (school, private sector, NGO/INGO, government agency, etc.)
  • Train existing health workers on mental health
  • Conduct orientation for public stakeholders on mental health
  • Include mental health within the curriculum with a special focus on human values and train the teachers for basic counseling support
  • Regulate the sale of drugs, especially at the open border
  • Keep informational boards in public places (such as picnic spots, cinema hall, party palace, park, schools, colleges, etc.)
  • Regulate the use of social media
  • Increase awareness of gender-based violence (GBV)

After the group work and presentation, the session was formally closed by Honorable Pramila Singh, Member of Province 2 Provincial Policy and Planning Commission. She said, “We cannot expect outputs on suicide prevention until we invest in its prevention. This is an extremely important discussion, I hope the province and local level takes it seriously”.

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