Sunday, January 23, 2022

World Mental Health Day: Indian Helplines now available for Counselling

To commemorate World Mental Health Day, the Ministry of Health launched a Green Ribbon Initiative under the lead of Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya.

The initiative intends to raise awareness on Mental Health as part of the activities being taken up during ongoing Mental Health Awareness Week, 5th-10th October.

“The green ribbon is a symbol of mental health. We need to spread more awareness about mental health in our society,” said Dr. Mandaviya while underscoring that all types of Health and Wellbeing are essential for progress.

Mental Health Services in India

People who face Mental Health related issues can seek help in the form of counselling by certain helpline numbers and government aid programmes that are currently implemented in place.

The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry provides a 24/7 toll-free helpline to give support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.

KIRAN – mental health rehabilitation helpline

The mental health rehabilitation helpline, KIRAN, can be called from landline and mobile phones across the country at the number 1800-599-0019. The helpline KIRAN was launched in collaboration with state-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) that provides the department with telecom infrastructure.

This helpline was launched in view of the growing instances of mental illness, particularly due to the COVID19 pandemic. It works as the first step for callers to receive advice, counselling and referral to psychologists and psychiatrists. Moreover, the helpline is available in 13 languages and has 660 clinical/rehabilitation psychologists and 668 psychiatrists as volunteers.

The 13 languages covered in the helpline are: Hindi, Assamese, Tamil, Marathi, Odia, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali, Urdu and English.

MANAS App – digital wellbeing platform

In addition to this, The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India Prof. K VijayRaghavan-launched the “MANAS” App to promote wellbeing across age groups on 14 April 2021. It has been endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

MANAS is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform and an app developed to augment the mental well-being of Indian citizens.

As per Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, mental healthcare services of India have been integrated into general healthcare services like National Health Mission, PMSSY, Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram, AYUSHMAN Bharat, PMJAY, etc.

The Ministry of Education under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan also runs the “Manodarpan” initiative, aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.

NIMHANS RAAH – online mental health care

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) runs a “NIMHANS RAAH app”, – a mobile application that can be downloaded on Android and iOS platforms.

The app provides free information to the public on mental health care professionals and mental healthcare centres in the form of a one-stop source of data on mental health centres and professionals.

Mental health professionals and organisations register and update their information in the directory live for no cost which allows people to search for information about said professionals with a map and list view showing timings, fees details, available services, and years of experience.

World Mental Health Day – Raising global awareness about mental health issues

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10 wherein countries, governments and people speak about this very important aspect of the overall health of individuals.

People suffer from anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns in isolation often due to social stigma attached to mental disorders.

Therefore, it is pertinent for people suffering from mental health-related issues to reach out for help, but more than that, it is essential for others, especially government and administrative bodies to bring help to such people and build a safe environment where they can open up and seek medically mandated counselling.

World Mental Health Day – History, significance & Theme this year

World Mental Health Day was first observed on October 10, 1992, as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health. Initially, the day was celebrated without any prior set theme or curated agenda other than to talk about Mental Health in general.

In 1994 for the first time, a theme for the day was used which was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.” Since then, the World Mental Health Day has gained popularity wherein some of its early themes were – Women and Mental Health (1996), Children and Mental Health (1997), Mental Health and Human Rights (1998) and Mental Health and Ageing (1999).

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental health in an unequal world’. The COVID-19 pandemic inflicted a major impact on people’s mental health. Students, people living alone, frontline workers, even people living with their families were affected when services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders were significantly disrupted.

On World Mental Health Day every citizen of the country should take note of the Union Health Ministers words that – “Without healthy individuals, there will not be a healthy family and by extension a healthy society and a healthy nation.”

Therefore, it is pertinent for all individuals to seek (and provide) help for mental health-related issues while society must work hard to remove the stigmas prevailing around Mental Health Disorders.

- Advertisement -spot_img
Latest news
Related news