Orthodox Church opens emotional support center

Kottayam (Philip Mathew- Matters India): An Indian Orthodox Church has launched a center for emotional support in a bid to check increasing suicides.

The center named Vipassana was launched by the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Basalios Mar Thoma Paulose II Catholicos on May 23 in Kottayam, Kerala.

The center has been set up for emotional support telephone helpline, family life enrichment and suicide prevention programs and a fellowship of family members who suffered the trauma of a suicide in the family.

The head of the church saidthat social exclusion of emotionally challenged and aged are on the increase in a consumerist society like India, and it is the need of the hour to comfort those who are lonely and depressed.

The number of people committing suicide is also on the increase due to mounting emotional stress in workplace, family and educational institutions, he said and added that It is the responsibility of the church to take care and comfort the depressed through relevant programmes as shown by Jesus Christ.

The Catholicos inaugurated the center by lighting a lamp in the presence of Justice K. T. Thomas (former judge of India’s Supreme Court), Fr. K. M. George (director, Sopanam Academy of Orthodox Theology), Fr. O. Thomas (Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary), Dr. Varghese Punnoose (Professor of Psychiatry, Government. Medical College, Kottayam), Prof. P. C. Alias (Director, Public Relations of the Orthodox Church), Fr. P. A. Philip (Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Human Empowerment) and Dr. Siby Tharakan (Director, Vipassana).

Justice Thomas told the inaugural meeting that there should not be any discrimination in funeral service for people committing self harm.

Mounting psychological pressure creates traumatic experiences in the individual which induces suicidal thoughts and the individual’s response to it is not volitional, he said.

The Helpline envisages helping people who are under tremendous stress and emotional breakdown.

The telephone helpline which purports to console and empower people under emotional breakdown and loneliness will function 24×6.

The calls coming to the Helpline center will be handled by volunteers who are trained for the purpose.

The callers will not be asked to divulge their name and address. The problems shared shall be kept strictly confidential.

Students, youth and seniors citizens (anybody irrespective of their age, caste or religion) can be the beneficiaries of the helpline.

Face to face interaction for emotional help and counseling by reference for needy is also arranged in the center.

The focus of the Centre shall be the enrichment of Family life. It will organize various Awareness /Training Programme in this line. It shall take up and continue various projects introduced by the Ministry of Human Empowerment of the Church. It will also organize various training /awareness programs for Suicide Prevention.

Vipassana will also organize programs to console and embolden families in which suicide or unnatural death happened. Get together of such families, emotional sharing, counseling, retreats and so on are being planned.

Vipassana is a joint initiative of Ministry of Human Empowerment and Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement.

VIPASSANA Emotional Support Centre can be contacted at Mob: 07025067695, E-mail: vipassana.mohe@gmail.com

Contact address: Director, VIPASSANA, MGOCSM Student Centre, CMC College Junction, Kottayam, Kerala-686001

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