On call: Safe mental health spaces 

The impact of the pandemic has pushed many to the brink of succumbing to mental health challenges.

Published: 01st September 2020 04:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2020 02:53 PM   |  A+A-

Kamala Easwaran and Yog Varun Japee

Kamala Easwaran and Yog Varun Japee

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The impact of the pandemic has pushed many to the brink of succumbing to mental health challenges. Curbs on face-to-face counselling have put stress on acceptance, healing and recovery. Remedy, however, is now being offered by way of support via telephone counselling services, peer chat groups, helplines, and therapeutic sessions.One such support group is Sumunum, which focuses on improving well-being through arts-based practices, experiential learning, and intervention.

It was founded by Kamala Easwaran and Yog Varun Japee in April 2019. In June this year, the team launched Sumunum Connect, a multi-lingual support line that offers a safe and non-judgemental space to those struggling with illness. “It’s a team of doctors, teachers, art practitioners, coaches, lawyers, psychologists, and palliative care specialists. The purpose is to offer help to people not only with diagnosis and serious illness but also to anyone who wants to vent. Some of the core values we uphold are: Trying to be fully present, offering a culture-sensitive atmosphere, and empathetic connection with people,” explains Kamala.

The team has received over 3,000 calls and 1,000 follow-up calls since April. All non-mental health professionals have undergone a 100-hour training programme. As part of the syllabus, they have covered psychological first-aid, counselling-micro-skills, non -judgemental listening and responding, enabling caring conversations, and creating safe spaces.

The team follows the guidelines of the Mental Health Act 2017. The number is operational from 11 am to 11 pm and is soon to be made a 24*7 service. The helpline is available in English, Hindi, and Tamil. 
For help, call: 1800123786868 or visit sumunum.com


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