Hyderabad: Mahesh Bhagwat, Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, emphasized the importance of emotional well-being and mental health as much as physical health in times of adversity. The commissionerate launched a psychosocial counselling services for all citizens of Telangana, put together by the Rachakonda Police in association with Rachakonda Security Council.
The CP said that the initiative was given shape after police officials came across numerous instances where people are suffering from stress, depression, loneliness, fears, grief, guilt, anxiety because of the pandemic and its affects. The CP said that the counsellors for this service, which was made available during the lockdown in 2020, addressed more than 200 calls.
Speaking about the importance of mental health, the CP mentioned two recent incidents where a person committed suicide by jumping from a hospital roof due to fear of COVID-19, and about a youth who suffered from schizophrenia after isolation for 14 days. In order to help citizens overcome fear, the service unit have roped in Amina Hussain, Kavita Natarajan, and Dr Anita who be leading a team of 11 counsellors consisting of Devi Sheshadri, Keerthi Reddy, Suchita Abraham, Lakshmi, Aakriti Agarwal, Krishna Mohan, Srivalli, Angela David, Kaumudi Nagaraj, Nalini Kishan and Kiranmayee.
The CP emphasized the need for psychosocial counselling services and asked the counsellors to tackle all the calls deftly and provide the best services. Addressing the counsellors, he said that even though there is no lockdown in the state yet, the fear of uncertainty about study or work life and the anxiety about contracting the virus and its aftermath have increased stress among people.
For survivors of the pandemic, the grief of losing loved ones, and the guilt of being the cause for the spread of virus to family members, has also adversely impacted their way of life. Homemakers face increased chances of domestic violence, children suffer silently from the lack of proper schooling and breadwinners of the family have fewer doors open for them because of the pandemic. Mahesh Bhagwat asked the counsellors to prepare themselves to help people from all kinds of situations.
He commended the services of the counsellors during the first wave and their professional competence in handling the issues. He requested the public to not to suffer in silence and reach out for support by calling the helpline number 040 4821 48 00, from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday to Saturday. Counselling will be available in Telugu, English, and Hindi. He also assured that absolute confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained with respect to the details of the callers and they can freely express their problems.
The counsellors have experience in the field of counselling and have specializations in geriatric counselling, student counselling, child abuse, domestic violence, clinical psychologist, and mindfulness.