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Coronavirus lockdown: NIMHANS launches helpline to address mental health issues

In its daily briefing, the ministry said the toll free number - 080-46110007- has been set up by National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru for people with mental health issues.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 29, 2020 7:25:37 pm
Jain Manav Seva Mandal distribute food packets to the homeless at Kalbadevi, Mumbai, on Sunday. (Express photo/Nirmal Harindran)

As the national coronavirus lockdown entered its sixth day, the Union Health Ministry Sunday said the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) had launched a toll-free number to address mental health  issues.

“The ongoing 21-day lockdown has resulted in some behavioral, mental health issues and NIMHANS has launched a toll-free number — 08046110007 — for consultation,” Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates

There has been a surge in the number of free distress counselling services to attend to issues of anxiety, frustration, hopelessness and even boredom seeping in among people during the 21-day lockdown. More and more clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors are teaming up to provide one-to-one interactions with each caller, over distributed time slots.

On March 23, the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh had initiated mental health helpline and by the weekend, the hotline was receiving close to 50 calls per day.

Though most of the calls were from people who were deeply perturbed by the fear that they will get exposed to the disease or have already been exposed to the disease, others are people with underlying mental health issues who have not been able to seek help in the way that they regularly do, doctors at the hospital told The Indian Express.

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In Mumbai, a youth collective, the Blue Ribbon Movement (BRM), is giving free counselling services to address COVID-19 effect on mental health.

The Health Ministry on Sunday said 106 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths were reported from six states in the last 24 hours. This takes the overall confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 979, including 25 deaths.

Srivastava said employers must be instructed to give full wages to workers on the due date without any deduction for the closed-down period and landlords cannot charge rent for this period. She also said the workers cannot be forced to vacate the premises.

“The SPs and DMs will be held personally responsible for its strict implementation,” Srivastava said, referring to the orders issued to stop the mass exodus of migrant workers.

The Health Ministry said 10 groups have been formed to give guidance to the people. It also specified that its focus areas include medical emergency management, isolation beds, and quarantine facility.

On the transportation of essential services, the Health Ministry said that Railways has run 1.25 lakh wagons transporting essential commodities such as food grains, sugar in last five days.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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