‘I Lost My Brother to Suicide’: A Sister’s Petition for Suicide Prevention Helpline

siblings raashi and raghav

Raashi Thakran lost her 18-year-old brother Raghav to suicide in 2019. To help others who are still suffering silently, she petitioned for a helpline number.

When thinking of her late brother Raghav, all Raashi Thakran can remember is a happy face.

But even the most cheerful boy in the family was facing issues he never spoke about, not even with his confidant — his sister.

In 2019, when Raghav died by suicide at just 18 years old, none of the members of the family could fathom how it happened.

Rashi recalls, “At 8.45 pm on what I can only describe as a regular evening at home, the doorbell rang and before I could process what was happening, my father ran out of the house…I only vaguely heard what he mumbled on his way out. I called him a few seconds later on his mobile, and all I heard was a cry. I remember being gripped by a fear that I can never put in words. Until that moment, I had never imagined that my father could cry. All he said was, ‘Raghav is gone‘.”

“Raghav was quite mature for his age since the time I can remember. He was a very sensitive soul and would always take time to open up. But once he did, he was a joy to be around,” she says.

Even though they would openly discuss serious issues that included celebrity suicides and mental health initiatives, Raghav never opened up about his own feelings, she says.

After his death, Raashi found it difficult to put her life back together. She suffered from anxiety, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the help of her parents, therapist and friends, Raashi was able to overcome it.

But she was never able to get over the agony of losing Raghav, she says.

So, she decided to do something for people like her brother, who suffer silently. She launched a petition to launch a national helpline number for suicide prevention.

With her efforts, in September 2020, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched Kiran — a mental health rehabilitation helpline number, 1800-599-0019.

“What if Raghav had tried one of those numbers just before the suicide? Maybe if he had spoken to someone, he would have changed his mind,” says Raashi. “It’s over for Raghav, and nothing I do or say will ever get him back, but I can try and help others who might be in a similar situation.”

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Edited by Pranita Bhat

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