Hyderabad: The State Government has decided to utilise the 108 helpline for providing much-needed mental health counselling support to general public during the ongoing lockdown.
As the lockdown has an impact on people’s mental health and well-being, an effective redressal mechanism and platform will be provided through 108 helpline, senior officials from Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) said.
Isolation, social distancing, closure of schools, workplaces and avenues for entertainment were challenges that affect people, and it was natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness at this time, says COO, EMRI, P Brahmananda Rao. “As people are obliged to remain in home quarantine/isolation, it is very important to consider the effects of the pandemic on mental health of people. That’s why providing psychological support for general public is vital,” he says.
Initially, the call centre will have five dedicated lines and will work in two shifts per day with five counsellors per shift and based on the need, more lines will be added.
A total of 53 counsellors, under National Health Mission (NHM) initiative, have already been trained at Indian Institute of Health and Family Welfare (IIHFW), Vengalraonagar, on Covid-19 mental health and counselling aspects for three days.
The counselling services will also be extended to all medical and paramedical health care workers who are involved involving in to Covid-19 duty.
“Two more experienced psychiatrists also are identified and have been positioned from Friday to address severe psycho-social behavioural cases. Data capturing templates have already been developed by psychiatrists and will be developed by 108 in due course,” the COO said.
People who are suffering from mental health issues due to non-availability of liquor also can call on 108 for psychological counselling.
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