Toll free mental rehabilitation helpline launched

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The helpline will offer mental health rehabilitation services with the objective of early screening, first aid, psychological support, distress management.
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New Delhi: The Centre on Monday launched a 24X7 toll free mental rehabilitation helpline for providing psychological support to people.

The helpline KIRAN' (1800-599-0019) was launched by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot.

The helpline will offer mental health rehabilitation services with the objective of early screening, first aid, psychological support, distress management, mental wellbeing, promoting positive behaviour and psychological crisis management, the minister said.

"The helpline will function as a lifeline to provide advice, counselling and reference in 13 languages to individuals, families, NGOs, parent associations, professional associations, rehabilitation institutes, hospitals or anyone in need of support across the country," he said.

"I hope this helpline will also be very useful for family members of those with mental illness," Gehlot said.

Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary at social justice and empowerment ministry, gave a presentation to highlight the salient features of the helpline.

"This toll free helpline will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the technical coordination of BSNL. It is backed by 660 clinical and rehabilitation psychologists and 668 psychiatrists," he said.

The 13 languages covered in the helpline are Hindi, Assamese, Tamil, Marathi, Odia, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali, Urdu and English, he added.

Explaining the working of the helpline, Seth said when 1800-599-0019 is dialled from any mobile phone or landline of any telecom network, from any part of India, one gets the option of selecting the language following which they get connected to the helpline centre of native or desired state.

The callers will then be connected to mental health experts who will help to resolve the issue or refer and connect to external help (clinical psychologists or rehabilitation psychologists or psychiatrists), the official explained.

The helpline is dedicated to resolve mental health issues related to anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicide, depression, panic attack(s) adjustment disorders, post traumatic stress disorders and substance abuse.

"The helpline will cater to- people in distress, pandemic induced psychological issues and mental health emergency," Seth said.

The helpline is being coordinated by the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai and National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR), Sehore.

Professional support for the helpline is being provided by the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP), Indian Psychiatrists Association (IPA) and Indian Psychiatric Social Workers Association (IPSWA), he added.

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