In 3 months Tele-MANAS cell receives 4000 distress calls

People are suffering from different issues and due to stigma.
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Representational ImageFile/GK

Srinagar: The Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) cell at Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Srinagar (IMHANS) has received 4000 distress calls across Jammu and Kashmir since its launch on November 4.

According to the official figures accessed by Greater Kashmir, of the 4000 calls, 694 calls were about sadness, 619 about anxiety, 502 about stress-related issues, 191 related to suicidal ideation or attempts, 454 had reduced interest in pursuing activities, 441 were palpitation-related, 416 related to sleep disturbances, and 283 related to hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and guilt.

Also, 274 calls were related to relationships and familial conflict, 246 related to aggression and risk of harm to others, 245 related to fatigue, 214 related to other psychological issues, 85 related to self-harm attempt, and 91 were about exam-related issues.

Besides that 50 calls were related to tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, smack and pain-killers, 59 about odd and bizarre behaviour, 129 were related to increased activity: pacing around and restlessness, and 69 were related to multiple body aches.

Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Bhupinder Kumar told Greater Kashmir that the Tele Manas service was increasingly being utilised by distressed people in J&K but its true potential would be realised only after some time.

He said that Tele Manas was a path-breaking initiative in the service of humanity and it would help attain the goal of making mental health available, accessible, and acceptable.

“We are consistently talking to more than 100 distressed people every day from every nook and corner of J&K and many times at hours when usual help is inaccessible,” Kumar said.

Bisma Yousuf, a counsellor at Tele Manas unit at IMHANS told Greater Kashmir that maximum cases were being solved and handled by the counselling cells.

“We get over 60 calls every day. Sometimes the number goes even higher up to 80 to 100. People are suffering from different issues and due to stigma. They didn’t want to visit a psychiatrist. Even there is a stigma attached to consuming medicines,” she said.

Yousuf said that some patients need medicines and they are referred to a psychiatrist.

“Firstly, we boost the confidence of the distressed caller, then motivate them to see the positive angle and options of life. We have successfully handled the cases,” she said.

Areej Khalid, one of the psychologists at Tele Manas unit at IMHANS, who is dealing with these cases, told Greater Kashmir that they get calls every day from different districts in Kashmir.

“Most of the cases are suffering from mental health issues. We have handled most of the cases successfully,” she said.

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