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Project Samarthan significantly brought down suicide cases among Tihar inmates: Official

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 16, 2019  | 23:50 IST

New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) The number of suicide cases among inmates in Tihar jail has reduced significantly due to counselling provided by professional mental health experts as part of 'Project Samarthan' launched last year, officials claimed Tuesday. As many as 7,000 inmates were provided counselling as part of the project which was launched by the prison administration in April last year with an aim to reduce suicide cases. "One year of Project Samarthan has shown encouraging results. There is a significant reduction in number of violent incidents reported amongst inmates. Cases of misconduct involving jail punishments have decreased and suicide in prisons have reduced significantly. "One suicide was reported as against seven in the previous corresponding period," Director General (Prisons) Ajay Kashyap told a gathering on the first anniversary of the initiative. A book on mental health was also released on the occasion. The officer said maintaining a safe and dignified custody of inmates in the face of over-crowding, under-staffing, mental stress and depression holds a tremendous challenge to the prison administration. "Whenever we interact with inmates, we feel a sense of hopelessness, loss of purpose and resignation to the circumstances among them and it is very difficult to articulate," he said. "Overcrowding, lack of privacy, lack of meaningful activities, forced solicitude, various forms of violence, insecure future prospects and inadequate health services lead to the mental illness," said Delhi High Court judge Mukta Gupta who was an invitee at the event. "We need to listen them whether you are a counsellor, prison authority, judge or legal aid lawyer. By listening them, we can solve most of their problems. There should be some more caring personalities in the jail," she said. Congratulating the prison authority for their achievement, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev said the basic concept of Project Samarthan was to take care the mental wellbeing of inmates. "Suicides occur as prisoners face depression after entering jail," he said, adding the project must be continued to make the Delhi prisons "a zero suicide" jail. PTI AMP/NIT AMP NSD NSD

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