Centre launches 24/7 mental health assistance service | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre launches 24/7 mental health assistance service

Oct 10, 2022 11:42 PM IST

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS), which was launched on the occasion of the world mental health day

New Delhi: The Union government on Monday launched the Tele-MANAS initiative to provide round-the-clock tele-mental health services in the country.

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS), which was launched on the occasion of the world mental health day, provides 24x7 mental health services on toll free number— 14416, the Union health ministry said in a statement. (Amit Sharma)
Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS), which was launched on the occasion of the world mental health day, provides 24x7 mental health services on toll free number— 14416, the Union health ministry said in a statement. (Amit Sharma)

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS), which was launched on the occasion of the world mental health day, provides 24x7 mental health services on toll free number— 14416, the Union health ministry said in a statement.

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Acknowledging the mental health crisis and an urgent need to establish a digital mental health network that will withstand the challenges amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had announced the National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) in the 2022-23 Union Budget.

“Tele-MANAS aims to provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas,” said the statement.

The initiative includes a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru being the nodal centre and International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing technology support. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bengaluru and National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHRSC) will provide the technical support.

“The toll-free helpline number has been set up across the country allowing callers to select the language of choice for availing services,” said the health ministry. “The calls would be routed to Tele-MANAS cells in the respective state and Union territory.”

Tele-MANAS will be organised in a two-tier system. Tier 1 comprises state Tele-MANAS cells that include trained counsellors and mental health specialists, while Tier 2 will comprise of specialists at district mental health programme (DMHP)/medical college resources for physical consultation and/or e-Sanjeevani for audio-visual consultation, said the statement.

Presently, there are five regional coordination centres along with 51 state/UT Tele MANAS cells.

The initial rollout providing basic support and counselling through centralised Interactive Voice Response system (IVRS) is being customised for use across all states and UTs.

“This will not only help in providing immediate mental healthcare services, but also facilitate continuum of care,” said the ministry. “Specialised care is being envisioned through the programme by linking Tele-MANAS with other services like national tele-consultation service, e-Sanjeevani, Ayushman Bharat digital mission, mental health professionals, Ayushman Bharat health and wellness centres, and emergency psychiatric facilities.”

“Eventually, this will include the entire spectrum of mental wellness and illness, and integrate all systems that provide mental health care. NIMHANS has conducted training for 900 Tele MANAS counsellors from majority of states/UTs,” added the statement.

The mentoring institutes include AIIMS, Patna; AIIMS, Raipur; Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi; AIIMS, Bhopal; AIIMS, Kalyani; AIIMS, Bhubaneswar; PGIMER, Chandigarh; Hospital for Mental Health, Ahmedabad; Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Bambolim, Goa; AIIMS, Nagpur; AIIMS, Jodhpur; King George’s Medical University, Lucknow; AIIMS, Rishikesh, and Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, Delhi.

“The Union government aims to open at least one Tele-MANAS cell in each state/UT,” said the statement.

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