Lockdown blues: Psychological counselling being provided to all, Chandigarh admn tells HC
The administration was responding to a public interest litigation filed by an advocate seeking clarification on access to adequate and affordable mental health care services during the lockdown.Updated: Jul 07, 2020 00:13 IST
The Chandigarh administration has told the Punjab and Haryana high court that along with those directly affected by the coronavirus disease, all residents are being provided the option of getting counselling to deal with mental health issues induced by the pandemic situation.
The administration was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate, Sumati Jund, seeking clarification on access to adequate and affordable mental health care services, proactive mental health initiatives, and extensive training for mental health care by professionals to address the issues being faced by people during the lockdown.
The petitioner said before the court that since the country was in the middle of a mental health crisis, programmes generating positivity, hope and motivation at all levels, ranging from social narrative to personal helplines, counselling sessions etc., needed to be initiated. Otherwise we will move from one epidemic to another, the petitioner added.
In response, UT stated that Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, had a dedicated psychiatry department and was well-equipped in dealing with the issues concerning mental health. The psychiatric OPD services had to be temporarily suspended, but those had been substituted with telemedicine facilities. Counsellors were also deputed at Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, to assist persons coming for Covid testing, the representatives of the UT said.
The UT said that till June 19, as many as 1,451 calls regarding anxiety and mental health-related issues had been attended. The court was further informed that counselling was provided to affected areas such as Bapu Dham Colony, and to migrant workers as well.
The states of Punjab and Haryana, who were made party in the matter on the petitioner’s seeking, listed out the steps being taken by them in this regard. Satisfied, the high court disposed of the petition, asking states and the UT to take note of suggestions made by the lawyer.
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