HYDERABAD: With more and more people getting into depression every other day, the need for a helpline and easy access to a psychiatrist is perhaps more urgent now than ever before. According to a recent study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 9% of the population in India suffer from depression at one point of time or the other and nearly 36% suffer from what is called major depressive episode at least once in their lifetime.
Against this backdrop, a city-based NGO, Makro Foundation on Wednesday launched a helpline and a website to counsel those suffering from depression.
To avail its services, one can either call 040-4600-4600 or just chat online with a psychiatrist at www.makrofoundation.org/express <http://www.makrofoundation.org/express>.
Speaking after launching the website, Makro Group CEO Mahesh Malneedi said that around 50% of the 2,500 calls they had received on their suicide prevention helpline since Dec 2009 were from depressed people. Explaining the rationale behind launching the website, he pointed out, “depression is a dayto- day affair in a common man’s life. But the frequency and duration of the same makes counseling necessary, and that is when a casual online chat on our website helps..One can get counselling without even realizing it.” According to him, the major causes for depression fall into three categories: One, education related issues which put pressure on school and college students; two, relationship issues and three, stress at work places among adults.
Subba rao, managing trustee, Makro Foundation, while inaugurating the helpline said, depression is one of the major reasons for shorter lifespan among people in the age group of 15-44. The Makro helpline will be available from Monday to Friday between 10 am and 5 pm and provides emotional support, guidance and counseling by a professionally trained counselor, informed G Aparna, manager of the non-profit organization.
According to her, six such counselors will be available to attend to distress calls.
So what makes this helpline different? A caller need not identify himself until she/he feels confident and comfortable. “The situation of the caller would be studied and guidance would be provided. In case of serious issues, we would recommend the patient to consult our psychiatrist free of cost on Thursdays/ Fridays between 4 pm and 6 pm,” explained Aparna.