The CCC Foundation which stands for Courage, Compassion and Commitment recently organized a walk to raise awareness on mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003 the Foundation has been passionate about serving those in need especially through their helpline that provides emotional support to people facing difficulties. This year, in view of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Foundation organized an inaugural walk titled ‘Let’s Talk and Walk’ from Galle Face Green up to Independence Square along with the Bikeathon which was held for the seventh consecutive year.
The Foundation was supported by many other charity organizations including Rotary, Rotaract, Interact, Leo and Roundtable. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ranil Thilakarathne, Manager, 1333 Helpline said a lot of people talk about their physical health and forget about mental health. “Here we are promoting Let’s Talk and Walk which is an international celebration. At CCC there are many services available for example 1333 is a crisis support service that operates 24*7, it's toll-free and we have crisis supporters who can speak in all three languages from around the island.
The riders did a bikeathon covering 1333 km in 13 days covering 13 cities. When we started there were one or two calls per day but now we have around 100-110 counselling calls. Everybody is a trained crisis supporter and we follow the Lifeline model in Australia. What’s beautiful about it is that all of them are volunteers. The Walk happened for the first time but we joined an international celebration and we hope to continue it every year.”
A few other participants also shared their thoughts with us:
“It’s a good cause because a lot of people don’t open up with their issues. We need to support them because we are in a society that judges people who have depression and suicidal thoughts.” Chamathka
“I believe talking to people is the real medicine. If you have someone to talk to it’s a blessing and this initiative is to make people realize that they are not alone.” Vijayashanthi
“As children are getting addicted to drugs this is a good way to prevent depression.” Thisuka
“I’m aware that suicide is a big problem and to help established a telephone service so that they are never alone. Rotary is doing a significant amount of work in terms of suicide prevention, coaching, talking, raising mental health awareness and therefore we directly support this initiative.” Dinali
“A lot of people think they are alone. They will have many reasons to feel depressed. Some people isolate themselves and think there’s no solution to their problems. But ending your life isn’t the solution either. If you have an issue you should tell it to a friend and find a way out. Therefore this is a very timely initiative by CCC.” Ramesh
“I came here to support this walk to raise awareness of mental health. Most of the time suicide happens because people keep problems to themselves. Hence, this is a good opportunity to connect with people.” Usama
Pics by Damith Wickramasinghe