To add to their awareness about social issues, students of School of Mass Communication of KIIT Deemed To Be University attended a panel discussion on the contentious issue of suicide by The New Indian Express and city-based wellness centre Manam Foundation at the Railway Auditorium on the occasion of the World Suicide Prevention Day.
The evening saw a culmination of the ‘Working together to prevent suicide’ awareness campaign by The New Indian Express (TNIE) and Manam Foundation. There was a panel discussion by Deputy Resident Editor (TNIE) Siba Mohanty, Dr BR Mishra, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, Dr Pranay Swain, Dean of Students’ Affairs, NISER, Anuradha Mahapatra, a wellness expert. The chief guest of the event was Director General of Police (DGP) RP Sharma.
Addressing the gathering, the DGP spoke about the need to create support systems in the society. He also stressed on the need for empathy by family and friends and counselling. Associate Professor Dr Mishra pointed out, “Excessive use of social media and internet is a behavourial addiction which is the main reason for youngsters falling prey to suicidal games like Blue Whale and Momo challenge.” Dean of Students’ Affairs at NISER, Dr Swain agreed with the psychiatrist and said that over-dependence on gadgets was a major reason for detachment and alienation towards the increasing cases of suicides. The Deputy Resident Editor of The New Indian Express, Mr Mohanty said the event will be an annual one and urged Odisha Police to come up with a suicide prevention helpline.
Adding colour to the evening, students of Odisha Dance Academy enthralled the audience with an Odissi dance drama based on the poetry of Sylvia Path, Aerial, choreographed by Odissi exponent Aruna Mohanty. Artists of The Protean Hoofers (TPH) group of students from KIIT University presented a contemporary dance drama set to the tunes of Bollywood songs. The event concluded with the felicitation of students who were winners of various creative writing, poetry and painting competitions held by The New Indian Express. Students of 1 st and 3 rd semester students of Integrated Masters of Communication and Journalism along with Dr Bidu Bhusan Dash spent a fruitful evening learning diverse views about suicide and its prevention.