I am suicidal. What should I do?

My friend, know that there are people around who can accept you as you are - people who can understand the enormous mental pain that you are probably experiencing now. If you are undergoing distressing feelings of loneliness, fear, guilt, hopelessness or shame - and if you feel you might even give up the life you once loved so much; know that there are people to support you. My friend, you are not alone, you are worthwhile, there are people who care about you. Before you take any action, read this and email, call  or contact Maithri.

I am worried about someone? What should I do?

Very often, individuals with suicidal feelings are comforted by someone whom they can trust and who has the willingness to listen to them. The individual can be encouraged to talk to family, friends or a suicide helpline. An awareness about suicide helps in providing emotional support to a suicidal individual.

How can anyone, including Maithri, help to prevent one from killing himself?

It has been scientifically established that majority of suicides are not resulting from impulsive reactions to stressful experiences. Those who take their own lives do so after careful consideration of all aspects and after careful planning. There often is a long gap before one takes definitive steps in this regard. An individual decides to take the extreme step only after he finds that his search for help is hopeless and he feels he is alone in this world. A kind word or gesture from an understanding person can make vast difference in this situation. Any trustworthy and empathetic person can do this. Maithri’s function is to listen to those in distress and those who are lonely. Maithri offers a forum to ventilate their painful emotions in an atmosphere of trust and confidence. It definitely helps.

Will one who appears moody and distressed, occasionally saying: ‘I am fed up’, ‘I am going to end it all’, ‘I do not care’, ‘I will kill myself’ etc. commit suicide?

It is not unlikely that those in distress and contemplating suicide will be making such statements. They are to be taken seriously as warning signals given out by those thinking of suicide and distress calls for help. Any person who gives out such signals together with personality changes like sleeplessness, depression, lack of appetite, getting emotional etc. need careful attention. He or she should be persuaded to take professional help or contact befriending centers like Maithri.

What is meant by the term ‘Befriending’?

‘Befriending’ is an acronym for ‘being a friend’ to a person who is lonely, distressed and suicidal. It means standing by a person in crisis. The best way to demonstrate friendship is to listen to a distressed person with empathy and acceptance. Maithri cares and listens to those who contact us and whatever the caller shares with Maithri is confidential.

Does Maithri offer service of professionally trained persons?

Maithri has not been created as a professional organization, though it has professionals among its volunteers. The volunteers have been trained to provide the basic service of befriending in a most professional way. Listening to a person in distress is not an easy task, and requires high degree of sensitivity, skills, values and perseverance. Volunteers have been carefully selected and trained to provide this service. They do not offer any of their own professional services. Any person needing the help of professionals are allowed to make their own choices. Maithri does not refer anyone to any professional or to any one institution in particular. They are however, allowed to continue keeping their contacts with Maithri for as long as they find it beneficial.

What do you do?

Maithri provides confidential emotional support, free of cost, to persons experiencing feelings of despair or distress, who may be in danger of taking their own lives. If you think that your mind is pained for any reason, you are welcome to contact us. Maithri will listen to your feelings uncritically, with understanding and acceptance. The friendship that Maithri will be able to offer to you can go a long way in lessening your mental pain. There is no need for any appointment to avail the services of Maithri. Whoever comes to the center or calls over the telephone can take as much time as he wants for ventilating his feelings. Maithri accepts no fees, gifts or favors from those who avail its services.

How can I contact you?

You can either make a direct visit to Maithri Centre at ICTA Shantigram, Kalamassery, Kochi, Kerala or call us on +91 484 2540530 at any time between 10 AM and & 7 PM on all days of the week. You can also write letters or email to Maithri about your distressing circumstances.

Can I send emails to you?

Maithri have an e-mail answering service for distressed persons. If you are in need of seeking support to your distressed feelings, please e-mail. You will receive a reply at the earliest possible.

When did you start?

Maithri was started on 17th June 1995 by a group of individuals concerned at the rising rate of suicides in Kerala. The history of Maithri describes the birth and the ongoing saga of suicide prevention in Kerala.

Who are the Volunteers?

Maithri's volunteers are ordinary people coming from many walks of life trained to take care of individuals in crisis, who may or may not be suicidal. A volunteer responds to a suicidal person as a friend, on an equal level, with unconditional, uncritical acceptance and respect. To become a volunteer at Maithri :

  1. One should share the vision of Maithri.
  2. Should be a good listener.
  3. Should have a minimum of four hours continuously to spare every week, to be available at the center.

How can I join as a Volunteer?

Maithri is a community based suicide prevention organization and relies on volunteers for all aspects of its functioning. We greatly appreciate your interest to become a volunteer with us. Click here for further details on volunteer selection and training.

What are your affiliations?

Maithri operates as part of Maithri Foundation Trust, a public charitable trust registered under the Charitable Trusts Act, 1952. Maithri is affiliated to Befrienders India, the India Chapter of Befrienders Worldwide (formerly Befrienders International). Maithri's vision, mission, principles and practices are summarised in The Eight-point Charter to which Maithri adheres.

Do you have special services for those who speak Malayalam?

Keralites (or those speaking Malayalam) especially find Maithri's services comforting to their disturbed emotions, because our volunteers are familiar with the unique social and cultural background of Kerala. You can communicate with us in Malayalam, besides English. Our services, however, remain the same for any person contacting us. That is, we provide confidential emotional support to persons who are feeling emotional pain inside, whether they are suicidal or not.

How are you funded?

Maithri is funded entirely through contributions from the general public.

How can I contribute?
You can contribute to Maithri and to suicide-prevention by
(1) Making a donation,
(2) Becoming a Volunteer with Maithri,
(3) "Becoming a Friend of Maithri".

Why is the suicide scenario in Kerala called "serious"?
The suicide-rate of Kerala is among the highest in all states of India. About 26 persons die by suicide in Kerala everyday. Suicides have become a major health problem in Kerala warranting urgent intervention.