Project on suicide risk reduction launched at RGU

RONO HILLS, 13 May: Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha launched a ‘Multistate project on suicide risk reduction and improving mental wellbeing’, funded by New Delhi-based Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), here on Monday.

The VC in his address said that RGU is already carrying out multiple projects on mental health,sponsored by various government agencies, and emphasised on the importance of “working in a collaborative manner and utilising the resources in optimum way with the support of state government and central government agencies,” a release from the university informed.

RGU Registrar Dr NT Rikam said that the meeting was necessitated to “orient the key individuals to the objectives of the ICMR project titled ‘Multistate implementation research study on suicide risk reduction and improving mental wellbeing among school and college students’,” while Social Sciences Dean Prof Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri emphasised on “identifying biological marker of suicide” and highlighted “building of a resource base on the suicide-related research in RGU.”

He also dwelt on “the cultural attributes in relation to suicide.”

Joint Registrar Dr David Pertin spoke about “the importance and relevance of the project in Arunachal Pradesh vis-à-vis India,” and expressed hope that the project would be completed on time, “as it is a participatory-based research and will bring out workable and applicable way forwards to cut the suicide rates.”

He informed that the duration of the project is three years in its first phase, “and it shall be carried out in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.”

For Arunachal, RGU’s Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) has been made the nodal centre, and under the project’s principal investigator (PI) and Co-PIs, the schools and colleges in the Itanagar Capital Region, Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Dibang Valley, Lower Dibang Valley and Lohit districts will be surveyed, the release said.

Principal investigator of the project, Dr Tarun Mene,presented the details of the project, and informed about the initiation of the project and recruitment of staff in the first phase of the project.

He emphasised on “the multilayered issue of the topic and explained the players of the project and the population and sample of the study,” the release said.

State government nominee, mental health SNO Dr Haniya Payee, who attended the programme,enquired about the policy implementation of the project and emphasised on “alignment between existing policies and outcome of the project.”

Another state government nominee, public health specialist Dr Tana Takum, spoke about the area of study and the geographical complexities in terms of cluster formation and area selection, while state government nominee, Higher & Technical Education Directorate NSS SLO Dr AK Mishra, highlighted mental wellbeing and emphasised on providing counselling sessions in schools and colleges, and advocated developing SOPs.

AITS Prof Jumyir Basar spoke about “the project’s cultural aspects in tribal society about mental health, by taking into consideration the cultural and ecological aspect of the state of Arunachal in the implementation of the project,” the release stated.

Among others, AITS Director Prof S Simon John, all the co-PIs of the project – Dr Lijum Nochi (Economics), Dr Dharmeshwari Lourembam (Psychology), Dr Kakali Goswami (Psychology) and Amit Kumar (AITS) – also shared their ideas about the project and its effectiveness in a larger context, it said.