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Online care center Friend opens in Kazakhstan to prevent teen suicides 13 октября 2014, 20:15

An online support center Friend aimed at decreasing the number of suicides among children and teens in Kazakhstan has opened in Almaty.
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An online support center called Friend aimed at decreasing the number of suicides among children and teens in Kazakhstan has opened in Almaty, Tengrinews reports.

The idea of the project that deals with teen suicides was voiced by Marat Ospanov in 2013. “We worked on finding a telephone provider for a year and a half. We did not want to set up a call center with a landline. It is important that every child can contact us free of charge. In couple days the call center will operate throughout Kazakhstan. Today it operates in Almaty only,” Omarov said.

The center started working unofficially in July, 2014. At the moment, there are four psychologists working in the center. Everyone who requires help can call for free by phone, Skype or through Droog.kz. “We have received 7 inquiries since July. It once again proves that opening an online support center instead of just a landline was justified. After all, children today are living on the Internet. In addition, it is always easier to type than talk. That is what we are building the work of our center on,” Omarov explained.

In the future, the center plans to have 8 psychologists and 8 volunteers. Adults who are concerned with teen suicide can also call the center to learn about ways to help children. “Kazakhstan is in the 8th place in the world by the number of teen suicides and in the 1st place by the number of suicides among 15 to 19 y.o. teen girls. We hope to bring the rating down a bit. In 10 years we want to bring Kazakhstan out of this rating. We cannot achieve this by ourselves. We have a memorandum with the Ministry of Education as well as the City Akimat (Municipal authorities),” the organizer said.

According to UNICEF data, teen suicides are primarily caused by poverty, complications in relationship with family members and friends as well as abuse of alcohol, drugs, unrequited love, problems at school, traumatising childhood experience and terminal illness. No official statistics on teen suicide rates in Kazakhstan has been published.

Reporting by Aizhan Tugelbayeva, writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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