By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 24 Aug: The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), is launching ‘Kiran’, a toll-free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline (1800-599-0019).
With the objective of early screening, first-aid, psychological support, distress management, mental wellbeing, preventing deviant behaviours, psychological crisis management, etc., the helpline will offer mental health rehabilitation services. It intends to resolve issues of people across the country experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, panic attack, adjustment disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, pandemic induced psychological issues and mental health emergency.
The online inauguration of ‘Kiran’ Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline is proposed to be held on 27 August by Dr Thaawarchand Gehlot (Cabinet Minister, MoSJE) in the presence of Krishan Pal Gurjar (Minister of State, MoSJE). During the virtual inaugural of ‘Kiran’ helpline, its poster, brochure and resource book will also be released.
The idea was conceived by Shakuntala D Gamlin (Secretary, DEPwD), based on the prevalence of mental health issues in India and the need to create an access to emergency relief and support to the vulnerable population experiencing psychological issues due to the unprecedented nature of pandemic COVID-19. Dr Prabodh Seth (Joint Secretary, DEPwD) mentored the helpline project and coordinated with all the National Institutes and Composite Regional Centers across the country for the effective execution of the helpline.
Currently over 660 volunteer Clinical/Rehabilitation Psychologists and 668 volunteer Psychiatrists, along with 75 experts at 25 helpline centres have a capacity of handling 300 clients per hour. There is a three-level mechanism of support, the caller will first be connected to the location-based helpline-centre, and then as per need referred to rehabilitation/clinical psychologists/psychiatrists. Follow-up and support will be extended at the third-level. For training of mental health centers, three training programmes have been conducted.
The helpline will offer support in 13 languages for any individual, family, NGOs, DPOs, Parent Associations, Professional Associations, Rehabilitation Institutes, Hospitals or anyone in need of support across the country including Ladakh, Kashmir, Jammu, 8 North-Eastern States, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
The helpline will be coordinated by the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD, Chennai) and National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR, Sehore). Collaboration for the helpline has been received from the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP), Indian Psychiatrists Association (IPA) and Indian Psychiatric Social Workers Association (IPSWA).