CM announces mental health helpline

Uddhav Thackeray  

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday urged those who are subjected to or witness to any form of domestic violence should dial 100 to seek help from the police, even as he unveiled a mental health helpline for people to quell any anxieties caused by the lockdown and the pandemic.

Stressing that people may feel uneasy, depressed, lonely, and frustrated after sitting at home for days, the CM said, “The government has two numbers for this. The first is by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Birla [group], which is among many voluntary groups that are coming forth to help. This number is 1800120820050. The second helpline has been launched by the State Tribal Development Department, Project Mumbai, and Prafulta: 18001024040.”

The second helpline aims to reach 12 crore citizens across the State.

Maharashtra is the first to have a State-wide and government-supported toll-free number for mental health, said Shishir Joshi, CEO, Project Mumbai. “There’s help available for people in urban pockets, and mental health is talked about in these areas. We felt we could take a look at other areas as well, and the Tribal Development Department took the lead in this,” he said.

The service has begun with 30 counsellors from all over the State, and Project Mumbai is looking to add more. With the counsellors hailing from outside Mumbai, they are more clued in to issues of people from other areas of the State, such as farming loan distress and so on. Nevertheless, they have been trained in the dos and don’ts on such calls, Mr. Joshi said.

The service was inundated with calls minutes after the CM made the announcement, Mr. Joshi said. Calls have been coming from all over the State, and added up to nearly 1,000 in four hours. The calls related to how people will handle the lockdown and the availability of food, among other things, he said. Counsellors from 20 districts will attend to calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Marathi, Hindi and English.

(With inputs from Alok Deshpande)

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 4:29:07 PM |

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