Srinagar: Struggling to choose the right career for himself, a caller from a remote village of north Kashmir opened up about his failures and parental pressure he is facing.
The distressed caller was handled with care at the Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) cell at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Srinagar (IMHANS).
Like him, the cell has received at least 1000 distress calls from different districts in the last 40 days.
The calls were about interpersonal relationship issues, academic failures, lack of family support, unemployment, and marital disharmony.
Besides that, five percent of calls were related to substance addiction.
The Tele-MANAS cell was launched on November 4 with the support of the National Health Mission.
It aims to provide free tele-mental health assistance, particularly to people in remote areas.
The center operates through a 24×7 helpline number 14416.
According to doctors, the Tele-MANAS unit at IMHANS brings an important change in the lives of people, especially those living in far flung areas.
They said that during the winter, it becomes difficult for the people living in Ladakh , Gurez, and other far-off places to reach IMHANS for consultation.
“Now they can easily call, get online consultation, and share their problems with the doctors,” they said.
Prof Arshad Hussain, Nodal Officer, Tele-MANAS at IMHANS-K told Greater Kashmir that they received around 1000 calls and among them 80 percent of calls were already diagnosed people with various psychiatric illnesses.
“The reason for the call is existing distress or crisis with non-availability of psychiatric help physically at that point or because of living in areas where psychiatric help is not available at all,” he said.
He said that many of these calls had been lifesaving as they provided the moment support in crisis to the vulnerable and achieved pause in self-harming ideas and linked them with mental health services.
“Besides that, many young people have called for inter-personal relationship issues, academic failures, lack of family support, unemployment, and marital disharmony. The only glitches have been issues with call accessibility and network, call hang-ups, and call transfers,” he said.