3,500 in Punjab sought mental health counselling from Tele MANAS helpline in a year - Hindustan Times
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3,500 in Punjab sought mental health counselling from Tele MANAS helpline in a year

ByRakshit Sharma, Ludhiana
Jun 10, 2024 07:12 AM IST

Amritsar leads the state with 488 callers, followed by Chandigarh (225) and Jalandhar (223). Muktsar, at 37, had the least number of callers.

As many as 3,525 persons from the state have dialed the Tele MANAS helpline, seeking help over mental health issues, since its launch in May last year.

The helpline, a Centre-backed mental health programme, was started to provide free counselling to people suffering from problems like anxiety and depression, but not just limited to these.
The helpline, a Centre-backed mental health programme, was started to provide free counselling to people suffering from problems like anxiety and depression, but not just limited to these.

The helpline, a centre-backed mental health programme, was started to provide free counselling to people suffering from problems like anxiety and depression, but not just limited to these.

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According to the data given by Tele MANAS, Punjab, over 1,200 of the callers also got a call from the centre, which, according to psychiatrist Dr Sanyam Gupta, who heads the programme in the state, is usually done only when the caller is in a serious condition and it is important to check up on them.

Its data showed that callers were dealing with symptoms like sad mood, sleep disturbances, stress, anxiety, relationship/familial conflict, feelings of helplessness, aggression, loss of interest in life, palpitations and suicidal tendencies.

The data further revealed that around 70 per cent of the callers were men between the age group of 18-45 years. This, Dr Sanyam said, was primarily due to the lack of helpline’s access women had, clarifying that both men and women had the same issues.

“Women have more of a stigma to come out and seek help. Not only mental health, the benefactors in all health departments, barring gynaecology, are mostly men,” he said.

He also noted that since there was a dependency on their male partners, women found it hard to seek help on their own. However, he hoped that with the facility of access to mental health professionals from the safety and comfort of their houses, , women could now easily seek the help they need.

Amritsar leads the state with 488 callers, followed by Chandigarh (225) and Jalandhar (223). Sri Muktsar Sahib, at 37, had the least number of callers.

The Punjab team of Tele MANAS is based at the Institute of Mental Health in Amritsar. A team of 17, including 15 certified counsellors, a psychiatric social worker and a chief psychiatrist.

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