Save A Life (SAL) Foundation, an India-based mental health awareness organization founded by mother-son duo Bansi Doshi and Niraj Doshi, announced its launch on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day. SAL aims to eradicate suicides worldwide by 2040, the organization addresses mental health and wellness concerns of individuals across different spheres of life.
A group of very talented professionals, including Dr. Mickey Mehta, a holistic health & fitness guru; Pinky Dhawan and Dr. Kiran Shandilya, experienced clinical psychologists; Shreya Maheshwari, a certified life coach; and Sushant Divgikar, Indian model, actor & industrial psychologist formed a panel at the event for a discussion on the role of nature and nutrition to remain mentally fit, dealing with depression, traumas in early years and related topics. The event also witnessed an entertaining live music and mime show.
According to World Health Organization there are close to 800,000 suicide deaths every year, across the globe. SAL believes that by addressing mental health and wellness concerns which are amongst the most miscomprehended situations in this era, suicides can be prevented. These issues are still unfortunately considered to be a taboo in society today. The lack of knowledge in tackling these issues and the patience required to understand them has led to an increase in suicide cases.
The organisation’s official name is SALUBRIUM, that stands for SAL providing U and your loved ones equiliBRIUM of the mind and heart. SAL has set out to achieve this through a 360-degree platform that will be provided to people to enhance their mental wellbeing, via the following six units:
SAL Productions: Reduce stigma through books, plays, podcasts, etc.
SAL Wellness: Preventive activities like meditation, dance and yoga along with medical advisory services to be conducted by a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists.
SAL AI & Data: Technologies like Chatbot, Data and GPS to reach out to individuals and help them in case of an emergency.
SAL Education: Children to be taught life sciences from an early age to equip them and teach them how to lead a healthy life and manage emotions through various phases in life.
SAL AmbuCross: Red button for emergency embedded in cab-sharing Apps and taxis to help emergency patients who’ve tried to commit suicide & whose kin/friend can immediately access help through SAL AmbuCross.
SAL Finance: Guide and help individuals to clear off financial debts by adopting a proper risk assessment and actuarial/insurance model. This will specifically look at eradicating suicide cases of farmers and others from a lower economic background.
Commenting on the launch, Niraj Doshi, Co-founder of the foundation, said “My personal journey of fighting depression and suicidal tendencies is what led me to start SAL Foundation. I had what you may call a perfect life, however, certain mistakes and unforeseen events gave rise to a couple of major depressive episodes and caused me to make a few suicidal attempts. It took 33 people to help me come out through this difficult phase of life.”
“My mother, Bansi Doshi, Co-founder of the foundation and a maths teacher by profession, quickly calculated the numbers and realised that if it took 33 people to save my life then it will take 26.4 Million people to save lives of those 800,000 people who die every year because of mental health issues and depression. Since then, we decided to embark on this journey to help others with depression and suicidal tendencies,” he added.
At the panel, Dr. Mickey Mehta said “Treating mental illness is like making dahi. Once the ingredients are put together, it should be kept still and not disturbed i.e. once the treatment for a mental illness starts, it is futile to keep checking if it has worked, as it will take time to heal.”
Kiran Shandiliya, commented “Depression must be treated like a disease, like any disease, and care must be meted out by professionals. There must be a sense of urgency in getting it treated.”
Mental illness is not just common among stressed adults but also young children and individuals with alternate sexualities. One of the panel members, Sushant Divgikar, who is also Mr. Gay India 2014, shared his thoughts basis his personal experiences, “A child doesn’t want to be labelled as anything but a child. When dealing with children with alternate sexualities, deal with them like children and not with labels. No special rights, just equal rights so that they are not scarred mentally to be made to feel like outcasts.”
In order to achieve a higher quality of life, experience happiness, and contribute positively to society, SAL Foundation urges every individual to break mental chains that imprisons them and support anyone who they know is going through a mental challenge. Sometimes all it takes is holding their hands, saying a kind word or just lending an ear, to make a difference and save a life.