Counselling hotlines to counter the COVID 19 anxiety
Lily Thomas The Hindu, April 3 2020
A majority of them are temporary services aimed at helping those facing mental health issues stemming from the current crisis
Vikas (name changed), middle-aged, his wife and their toddler miles away in another metro, and he is working from home; due to the lockdown, he is cut off from his family, unable to visit them during the weekend; he feels a void within, and it borders on depression.He has taken the prudent course of action by sharing his inner struggle on a counselling hotline. A good number of callers on counselling hotlines now discuss uncertainty about their businesses and careers, fear that they may have the Coronavirus infection, and even struggles to abstain from alcohol.
World Health Organisation says it is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis; talking to people you trust can help.
“Many people are used to following a routine and that has changed due to the lockdown, which itself is a stress,” says Lakshmi T.K., a Chennai-based psychologist who is associated with Mastermind Foundation that offers support to those facing anxiety.
Here are some counselling services to help people clear the cobwebs of the mind caused by the COVID-19 situation:
* Sixty psychologists have joined hands to offer counselling in Tamil and English; the initiative is facilitated by the Tamil Nadu Psychology Association. The service is available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. till the end of the lockdown on April 14.
Chennai (9962346966/ 9444936141), Kancheepuram (9094009085/9962026199), Tiruvallur (9043286526/9487553566), Vellore (9791520458/7299834184). For contact details of other districts, visit http://www.tnpsya.org.
* Mastermind Foundation, a centre for mental health based in Chennai, had brought together more than 60 psychologists from across India to offer counselling support, round-the-clock and in 11 languages. The details of the psychologists, their contact details and availability are on http://www.mastermindfoundation.com/.
* National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, is offering helpline support on a wide range of mental health concerns. A team of psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers are spearheading this initiative. The toll free helpline number is 080 46110007.
* Mumbai-based Arpan is offering counselling through multiple modes — chat-based counselling support via direct messaging on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and through a live chat function on https://www.arpanelearn.com/
The services can be availed from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.; and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For telephonic counselling, call 98190 86444. One can also join the WhatsApp group for parenting and self-care resources, in English: https://bit.ly/covidsupport_english/
* Mpower, along with Government of Maharashtra and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, has started a toll-free number — 1800-120-820050 — open 24 hours.