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KIRAN- India’s First 24*7 Mental Health Helpline Number

Doctor having a Psychotherapy session with the Patient

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has provided a toll-free number (1800-500-0019) to enable people to reach out for support. The helpline has the choice of 13 languages.

Thawarchand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, launched on Monday a 247 toll-free mental health recovery helpline ‘KIRAN‘ (1800-500-0019).

The helpline, founded by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPD), aims to provide the first line of therapy in response to people’s mental health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will provide recovery resources for mental health, such as early screening, first aid, psychological assistance, management of anxiety, promotion of healthy behavior and mental stability, and management of the psychological crisis.

It will also offer guidance, advice, and counseling at the first level, as well as referring patients with serious illness to therapists, with great focus on disabled persons.

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Stressing the need for mental health care, Probodh Seth, DEPD Joint Secretary, said they are seeing an increase in mental health issues with the ongoing pandemic. Our findings indicate that there is an acute shortage of mental health services in the country and we are launching KIRAN as a dedicated support line that offers recovery services for patients with mental illness to address this issue.

He added that the helpline was launched with the expectation that people would be able to reach out for support. The helpline KIRAN was launched in partnership with state-run telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which provided telecom infrastructure for the department.

How will KIRAN Work?

It will be operated as the first line of support by 75 mental health practitioners from 25 helpline centers. Of these, eight are national institutes, fourteen are state integrated mental health centers and three are regional centers.

There are branches of the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NIEPID) based in Delhi, Chennai, Dehradun, Mumbai, and Sehore (Madhya Pradesh) among other national institutions.

Also, the DEPD has roped in 660 clinical psychologists and 668 psychiatrists who will serve the second level of care for patients that are chronically ill or need prescriptions for medications.

The department has also promised the third level of care where patients with serious mental disabilities can receive daily follow-up calls.

What led to this?

India is facing a major mental health crisis, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Counselors and psychiatrists also recognized that mental health conditions linked to anxiety, such as obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and panic disorders, have seen a 20-25 percent increase since the pandemic started.

Also, according to the report published in December 2019 in the journal Lancet Psychiatry by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), India’s prime medical body, one in seven Indians suffer from mental health problems.

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