Mental Health Services: Govt's Tele MANAS Helpline got over 2 lakh calls since October 2022

The government's Tele Manas helpline got over 2 lakh calls since its launch in October 2022, seeking psychological help.

News Meter Network -  Newsmeter Network |  Published on  22 July 2023 1:12 PM GMT
Mental Health Services: Govts Tele MANAS Helpline got over 2 lakh calls since October 2022

New Delhi: Indicating the growing need to seek assistance for mental wellness among the citizens, there has been an overwhelming response to the National Tele Mental Health Programme (Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States: Tele MANAS, the digital arm of the District Mental Health Programme - DMHP).

Since its launch by the Government of India in October 2022, to strengthen mental health service delivery in the country, the toll-free service has received over 2,00,000 calls from various parts of India. There has been an exponential increase in the number of calls received within a gap of three months from reaching one lakh calls in April 2023 to two lakh calls in July 2023. In a tweet, Union Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya congratulated the countrymen for this feat.

Exam stress caused a spurt in calls

A spurt in calls related to exam stress was seen during the exam season. These callers were helped by the counsellors with supportive counselling and self-help strategies, which helped them in overcoming the problems. Efforts are also made to reach more students and adolescents in various educational institutes.

The most common concerns noticed among people are sadness, mood offs, sleep disturbance, stress and anxiety. Around 7,000 calls have been followed up by callbacks from counsellors where they have succeeded in completing the care required. Callers who required specialist care were successfully linked to appropriate services such as DMHP and other nearby healthcare facilities.

Tele MANAS - An initiative to end stigma and encourage people to seek help

With over 42 functional Tele MANAS Cells across 31 states and union territories, the service is currently catering to 1,300 plus calls per day in 20 languages. Over 1,900 trained counsellors are running first-line services.

With Tele MANAS reaching the one lakh mark within the first six months of its inception and another one lakh plus calls in the next three months (that is a total of two lakh calls within nine months), it is on the way to achieve its ultimate aim of building a comprehensive digital mental health network across India and reach the unreached.

Tele MANAS initiative, which was announced by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the Union budget 2022-23 as an acknowledgement to the mental health crisis in the country, is a novel initiative to enable people to seek support for their mental health issues while maintaining anonymity of the callers, thereby reducing the stigma generally surrounding mental health issues.

Promotion of the Tele MANAS services via different media platforms such as print media, radio and social media are being carried out. Tele MANAS will continue to provide callers with basic counselling and mental health services, with linkages to existing vital services and resources including integration with e Sanjeevani in the coming days.

The National Tele Mental Health Programme of India focuses on building the mental health workforce of the nation through capacity building initiatives while simultaneously ensuring that mental health services can reach free of cost to every household and every individual, targeting the most vulnerable and unreached sections of society that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Toll-free helpline numbers: 14416 or 1-800-891-4416 with multi-language provision allows callers to select the language of their choice for availing the services.

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