BENGALURU: The National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has been providing inputs on emerging psychosocial and mental health issues due to the 21-day lockdown among children, adolescents, middle-aged people and the elderly, to the ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India, since March 28.
The same day, Nimhans had launched a pan-India helpline – 080 46110007 — to address mental health and psychosocial issues of people, as a result of COVID-19 and the 21- day lockdown. “The helpline has already received more than 4,000 calls till date. Ninety per cent of people are facing fear and anxiety, more because of seamless information on social media, most of which is unscientific and fake,” said registrar and head of Centre for Disaster Management , NIMHANS, Dr K Sekar.
He added that there are age and community related issues. For example, children in the age group of 6-8 miss going out to play in the open; adolescents between 13 and 18 years feel anger for not being allowed to step out and meet their friends, and they have issues with their parents; working couples are also expressing frustration and the elderly are feeling that they are a burden on their families because they are unable to do anything.
“There are evolving issues of migrant workers and what we are observing is not only their loss of livelihood, but also dignity of living, We are coming out with short films on YouTube, advisories and leaflets on support for mental health and psychosocial issues that are coming up in the present context of lockdown,” said Dr Sekar. NIMHANS has roped in 50 mental health institutes such as the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health in Assam, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, among others, and 450 mental health professionals in the country to address mental health issues in their regions. Soon, the helpline will be available in 13 languages.