Doctors, frontline workers, emergency services workers and the general public are facing a difficult time because of the ongoing pandemic
Doctors, frontline workers, emergency services workers and the general public are facing a difficult time because of the ongoing pandemic. It is a big challenge for mental health and several such issues have increased due to the pandemic. People feel lonely, insecure, depressed, due to the fears about financial insecurities, staying indoors for a long time, fear of contracting illnessess, shops being closed, staying away from relatives and friends for a long time, too much work etc. To help relieve such mental health issues, some mental health professionals have introduced various helplines across India with the aim to help and counsel people who are emotionally distressed. These services are free of cost and a boon to the public. Hope people will make the best use of these helplines to maintain good mental health.
Fr. Nigel Barretto, Archbishop House, says, “Under the Archdiocese of Bombay, an initiative was launched in December 2020 called the Health Outreach Project which provides healthcare facilities to the poorest of poor populations and migrants; collaborating with Churches in the city through their local coordinators. Given this pandemic and the second wave crisis, the Health Outreach has just diversified into launching a Covid Hepline, a facility giving out information of Covid resources and connecting with doctors for tele-guidance on Covid matters and mental health issues. Both initiatives include all religions across communities, especially the most marginalised. The initiative is speare headed by Dr. Richard and Bishop Alwyn. The helpline is available to all communities.
Another helpline is started by Dr. Kshipra Vora, Clinical Psychologist and Academician, from Goa, She says, “Our frontline-workers have been at war-footing treating patie s, for over 400 days, regularly seeing cure as well as loss and tragedy unfold before them. Working tirelessly and selflessly is not easy. It has its risk of stress issues, spillover into personal well-being and extreme exhaustion and burnout. This helpline is a way to provide them with an option of choosing counselling to help them deal with this breakdown or what is also called ‘compassion-fatigue’. It is a pro-bono service for frontline-workers, and a way to help them in my capacity and also express my undying gratefulness for their noble service.”
Dr. Nirmala Rao, Psychiatrist, Director: Aavishkar Centre for Self Enrichment, from Mumbai, who has also started a helpline, says, “The pandemic has caused a lot of stress among people. There is lonliness and depression due to staying at home, fear of loosing their jobs, salary cuts, fear of the virus, stress of online jobs which really do not have any time schedule, loss of identity, worry for near and dear ones and so many stressful situations. People need to talk about their feelings and fears but dont know who to approach and how to aporoach them. Therefore I have started a helpline where anyone can call free of cost and get heard and get help, anonymously.”
Kiran Makhijani, Founder Psychologist, Mind Mechanics Management, started her helpline to provide a personalized and focused approach through the services she offers at helpline. She aims to not only provide short term help/relief but also long term counselling services at subsidised or no costs for those in need. She follows a systemised approach and ensures that the caller is supported and connected to a professional best suited for his/ her concerns. She also has Queer affirmative therapists onboard. Her team of experienced professionals are available all week.
In India, people tend to hesitate to seek mental healthcare. Ofcourse, things are changing. Hope people make full use of the helplines to get their queries answered and their mental health issues resoved. Do not hesitate to call them.
By, Monarose Sheila Pereira