Helplines open up in Chennai to lend mental and physical relief amid COVID-19 lockdown

Mental health has become a worldwide concern ever since people were asked to isolate themselves at home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Published: 26th March 2020 05:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2020 05:27 PM   |  A+A-

Mentally ill

Representational image (File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Ever since the city has gone into lockdown, helplines catering to various needs of the city -- physical and mental -- have opened up.

Shaira Munjal, a city based psychologist, has set up a helpline for those who may need mental health care during these times. She accepts calls or WhatsApp messages on the number +91 9884720759.

“People’s routines have completely changed since the lockdown. Most calls I’ve received so far are related to anxiety,” she told Express.

In those cases where the caller may be suffering from severe mental health issues and may need a diagnosis, they are asked to come in for a session after the lockdown is lifted. For now, Munjal’s focus is helping those with mental health issues get through the 21-day isolation period knowing that someone is available to listen to them, a call away.

Mental health has become a worldwide concern ever since people were asked to isolate themselves at home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

In a similar initiative, Bhoomika Trust, an NGO that has served during various natural disasters in the past including the Gujarat earthquake, has started a helpline for senior citizens.

Operating at 044-46314726, the helpline is primarily for senior citizens and those with compromised immunity.

Speaking to Express, its founder-trustee Jayendra Panchapakesan said, “In case a senior couple wants to be taken for dialysis and can’t afford a private ambulance, we will find sponsors who will be able to help them pay for it.”

The helpline has 40-50 volunteers who will be mapped to a caller based on their proximity to them so that they will not have to travel far to help them.

Essentials such as groceries, medicines and drinking water may also be delivered to their doorsteps by volunteers. These volunteers are provided with gloves and will leave the supplies at their doors without coming into contact with the caller, Panchapakesan said.


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