Hyderabad: In order to provide counseling assistance to people suffering from depression and other distress during lockdown Rachakonda police have set-up a special counselors team. The team can be reached by calling the COVID-19 control room on 9490617234 or 040-48214800. The initiative is a brainchild of the Rachakonda security council volunteers. The service can be availed by any one in Telangana, the counselors said.

Rachakonda commissioner C.P. Mahesh Bhagwat said, the tele-counselling centre was launched as people might not be able to reach the counselling centers due to lockdown.

“For the first-time people are sitting inside their houses for such a long time and are constantly being updated with news of increasing coronavirus cases. For sure it will lead to anxiety issues,” says counselor Kavitha who has joined hands with the Rachakonda police for counseling people on phone during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Eight counselors including a senior counselor with experience in dealing with domestic violence and suicide cases can be reached out for help.

The team was constituted on April 10. Ms Kavitha said, “We usually get calls from people who say they are scared or they want to go out of home. Some also said though they are staying at home, they are not getting enough time to do anything other than work. A woman with suicidal tendencies called us and we counselled her against any such decision.”

Counselor Amina Hussain who had received her call said, “I spoke to her for almost two hours she was worried about various things. It was difficult to convince her, but she understood and we were able to rescue her. I am still in touch with her and I share positive quotes and messages to boost her morale.”

The counselors can be reached from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm on all days except Sunday.

Shyamala Gouri, a counselor from the NGO Anukram, who has been working with the Rachakonda team for the past three and half years, is stationed at Kushaiguda police station. She said, “After the lockdown, the rush to the counseling centers has decreased, but I am still coming every day. I am also assisting people through calls. At the centre we take all precautions and also ensure we sit one metre away.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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