Sneha, run by a small band of volunteers, offers unconditional emotional support, 24-hours, 365 days a year, to people who are feeling upset, distressed, depressed and suicidal. The volunteers remain anonymous and offer total confidentiality and anonymity to those who contact. The underlying belief of the service is that emotional pain of a human being can be alleviated by another, by conveying compassion, acceptance, respect and empathy through listening. Every Sneha volunteer is there for the person in distress, to travel with him/her on their painful emotional journey, and wait alongside patiently, providing emotional support, until the person is ready to move on and re-establish a link with life.
The role of a Sneha volunteer is to provide emotional support in the form of non-judgmental and uncritical listening in complete confidentiality. This could give relief and much-needed respite to a person burdened with worries, fears and concerns that are weighing him/her down.
Services are totally free.
It was the year 1985, when Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar and Dr. Vijayakumar, a young psychiatrist couple from the then Madras, travelled to Vienna where Dr.Lakshmi was to present a paper in a conference of the IASP (International Association for Suicide Prevention). They met Ms. Vanda Scott, coordinator, Befrienders International, who talked to them about the work that the SAMARITANS, UK, a voluntary organisation for the prevention of suicide, was doing. Inspired by the work of the Samaritans, Dr. Lakshmi decided to start a similar service in Chennai.
Dr.Lakshmi resolved to start a centre for prevention of suicide, wholly managed by volunteers, with services totally free, in conservative Chennai - and Sneha was born on 13ht April 1986.
From the time over three decades back when Dr, Lakshmi took the road less travelled, innumerable people in distress have contacted Sneha from across the country, and sometimes from overseas. It is unassailable proof for the need of such a service in our society, where Sneha offers complementary service to those who have access to professional care, and essential service to those who don’t.
Sneha Foundation Trust is a registered Charitable trust.