Goa starts counselling for migrant labourers

Updated - April 06, 2020 12:49 am IST

Published - April 06, 2020 12:43 am IST - Mumbai

Staying calm:  A counselling session being conducted by a government-appointed psychologist.

Staying calm: A counselling session being conducted by a government-appointed psychologist.

The Goa government has started holding counselling sessions for migrant labourers housed in State shelter homes, to help them deal with psychosocial issues that arise during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.

There are close to 800 labourers in government facilities in North and South Goa districts, with the State arranging for their food and essential supplies so that they don’t attempt to go back to their villages as seen in Mumbai and Delhi.

Officials said steps to introduce counselling were taken as there were reports of a rise in patients with mental illness since the virus outbreak in the country.

“Counselling with empathy to migrant labourers is the way in getting their support to make them feel secure and assist in keeping all safe,” North Goa Collector R. Menaka said. The Indian Psychiatry Society, in a recent survey, said a sudden rise in those suffering from mental illness was up to 20%. According to the study, at least one in every five Indians is suffering from mental illness.

“This lockdown has made people live in fear of losing their businesses, jobs, earnings, savings, or even their basic resources. This has caused many to have nervous breakdowns and also get aggressive. We have been educating these migrant labourers about the novel coronavirus and its fallout,” an official involved in conducting sessions said.

The Goa government has also asked all urban local bodies and village panchayats to employ these labourers for the sanitisation and the upcoming pre-monsoon work by mid-April. These works include cleaning drains, strengthening storm water drains, and pruning of trees.

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