iCALL was launched by Synergy Marine Group in September 2012 in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, to support the mental health and well-being of all maritime personnel.
Catering for all ages and available to all seafarers i.e. whether or not part of Synergy, it is a free and wholly confidential counselling service that sensitively addresses the psychosocial needs of those in distress. It operates in seven languages, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm IST by telephone, email and the chat-based nULTA App.
Providing information, emotional support, and referral linkage, iCALL is run by trained professional counsellors who hold a minimum of a Master’s in counselling or clinical psychology. Immediately listening to all who get in touch, the counsellors first create an environment of sympathy and trust, and then swiftly tackle urgent or developing matters and longer-term emotional needs.
Consult a therapist
Seeking therapy regularly for emotional distress is likely to help in managing overwhelming emotions. It can also be a space where you gain skills to cope with challenges in your day-to-day life which trigger thoughts of suicide. Therapy can be sought both face- to- face or online.
Be kind to yourself
Suicidal thoughts are likely to be accompanied by a lot of guilt and self- blame. Being compassionate towards yourself in such times is likely to lessen the risk of suicide. Make attempts to reframe your inner critical voice. You may say, “I understand you are feeling distressed, I want you to feel better. Can you lie down and try to relax for a while?’. If it is difficult to talk to yourself, engage in physical gestures of warmth like stroking your arm, hugging a pillow.
Make a coping card
A coping card might help direct your actions when you struggle with feelings of hopelessness. It can contain any activity that brings you peace of mind. It can have grounding techniques such as taking deep breaths, meditating, listening to soothing music or any activity that you enjoy. It might also contain suggestions or directions that if followed can help in calming you such as taking a walk, a shower etc.
While going through suicidal thoughts, you are likely to feel immensely overwhelmed or numb. These self- help strategies are likely to bring your emotions to an optimum level:
– Hold an ice cube in your hand and notice how cold it feels till it melts completely
– Ground your senses to the present. Notice what objects you can see, sounds you can hear, sensations you can feel.
– Take long deep breaths.
Take a step towards ensuring your safety
Discard or keep away objects like sharp knives, blades, medication, rope, or poison for your safety. Be around people who are likely to support you in times of distress.
Talk to someone
Call a friend, family member, colleague, or any one you trust. If you can’t think of someone, call a suicide prevention helpline. You don’t need to tell them the entire situation if you are uncomfortable. You may just speak about anything that makes you feel comfortable.