Consultation workshop with service users and other stakeholders

A consultation workshop with service users was held on 17 December 2021 to get feedback on the National Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The national action plan is being prepared by the National Planning Commission and the process is being facilitated by TPO Nepal. Total 7 participants participated in the workshop held from 10 am to 12 am at the TPO Nepal meeting hall.

Firstly, Dr. Kamal Gautam, Executive Manager of TPO Nepal, gave a presentation on suicide and suicide prevention. The presentation focused on the prevalence, causes, risk factors, and myths and facts of suicide. It was followed by a discussion among the participants on the role of different stakeholders to prevent suicide. Some of the feedback given by the participants on the national action plan was as follows:

  • Ensure active involvement of service users in advocacy and awareness programs
  • Active surveillance and linkage to the support system for people with suicidal thoughts
  • Limit access to the means of suicide such as insecticides. Also, change the building construction guidelines for the minimization of suicide from buildings and public structures
  • Prepare an anonymous app where the service users can seek counseling, talk to each other anonymously about their suicide attempt, and take meditation classes
  • Include people who have attempted suicide in psychology education and counseling education because they can be more empathetic with other survivors
  • Air talk shows related to mental health and suicide where service users and mental health professionals can talk on a specific topic
  • Prepare and disseminate Nepali cartoons on mental health so that children and adolescents can learn easily
  • Free medication and counseling support throughout the country including the recruitment of psychosocial counselors in every school
  • Include mental health in school curriculum from a young age in addition to physical health
  • Place informational and awareness-raising materials on suicide prevention in public places such as bus stops
  • Provide meditation classes at the local level for interested students
  • Investment in mental health and social justice at the local level to increase social awareness and reduce stigma
  • Empathetic listening and support by family members for people who have suicidal thoughts instead of punishment and verbal abuse
  • Train traditional healers for referral of mental health problems

Similarly, another consultation workshop was conducted with stakeholders on the same day from 1 pm to 3 pm at the TPO Nepal meeting hall. A total of 16 participants from different backgrounds such as academicians, mental health experts, and I/NGO professionals participated in the second workshop.

Firstly, Dr. Kamal Gautam from TPO Nepal welcomed all the participants and gave a presentation on suicide and its prevention. The presentation focused on data, the process of the national action plan formulation, content outline, and key activities. Likewise, Suraj Koirala from TPO Nepal gave a presentation on the first draft of the national suicide prevention action plan. The presentation session was followed by a discussion among the participants about the key points to be included in the action plan. The event was concluded by Dr. Kamal Gautam after thanking the participants for their active participation and feedback.

Some of the recommendations were as follows:

  • Start the document with ‘Suicide is a psychosocial problem’ and also include self-harm
  • Create other reporting channels for the documentation of suicide besides police because the criminalization of suicide leads to stigmatization
  • Ensure and regulate the availability of psychotropic medications
  • Indicate clear referral pathways in the action plan with clear roles and responsibilities of the referral points (such as police, social workers, teachers, journalists, etc.)
  • Prepare organizational mental health policy for staff at all organizations as well as peer support approach at schools
  • Prepare a national level malpractice complaint management system
  • Tie up with existing structures rather than creating new ones
  • Build the capacity of teachers to identify children with mental health problems
  • Form a separate team at the local level who would be responsible for leading all activities related to mental health and suicide prevention
  • Train religious organization leaders and traditional healers for case identification and referral
  • Control insensitive media reporting that could lead to imitative suicide
  • Include people with lived experiences in awareness-raising activities
  • Include life skills education in school curriculum and train school nurses to identify signs and symptoms for the early identification and management of mental health problems
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Please call this number for psychosocial support and counseling/consultation. You can call this number free of cost from Nepal Telecom network.

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