In a collaborative initiative to provide free counselling to people suffering from, the and (ROCF) announced the launch of their “Voice that Cares- Psycho-social First Aid (PSFA)” helpline on Thursday.
The helpline number is 8448-8448-45 and will be open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, 7 days a week and is offered in Hindi and English languages, informed the two organisations through a press release.
The public helpline will providesupport for a wide range of mental health issues and first aid support for suicidal tendencies, depressive disorders, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other mental health concerns.
The organisations anticipate that, in the first year of operations, the helpline will provide support to more than 24,000 beneficiaries through approximately 48,400 PSFA calls.
The initiative has been launched by Dr. Thiruppugazh, Additional Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India, Dr. Sekar Kasi, Professor & Head, Registrar, Center for Psychosocial Support in Disaster Management, NIMHANS; along with Global Guide of Heartfulness, Kamlesh D Patel.
Dr. Thiruppugazh, Additional Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India, said, “Covid 19 is the biggest disaster, we have faced in independent India, not only in terms of loss of lives, but also in terms of economic loss. It also one of the largest disasters in terms of. Most of the damage in cases of Covid 19 is invisible unlike other disasters. Loved ones, care givers of people who are in covid isolation are the most stressed as they are not able to help their loved ones. Those who have recovered also continue to suffer from psychological trauma. The need for mental healing is as much important as physical healing. Helping humanity during a crisis is true spirituality. I am happy to extend my support and knowledge for this initiative and wish great success for Voice that Cares.”
The initiative is backed by experienced counsellors, 50 master trainers who have been trained by experts from NIMHANS, and 160 volunteers who have been trained to provide PSFA counselling. The initiative is also supported by an advisory panel consisting of senior psychologists / psychiatrists who will monitor the operations and guide the team.
Dr. Sekar Kasi, Professor & Head, Registrar, Center for Psychosocial Support in Disaster Management, NIMHANS, said, “NDMA has recognized that psychosocial support and mental health services as one of the major focus areas for the coming years. The pandemic has triggered significant emotional, physical, as well as economic problems, not only in India but around the world. Psycho-social plays a vital role in mitigating the emotional and mental challenges caused by this pandemic. In the mental health field, today we are looking at new diagnostic criteria in terms of Covid depression, Covid anxiety, Covid PTSD and others. Adding to the crisis, we have very few mental health professionals in India. We have 1 psychiatrist for every 2,00,000 population. In this regard, Voice that Cares is a great initiative, and I commend the efforts of Heartfulness Institute and ROCF Foundation in bringing forth a much-needed service to humanity.”
Speaking about the initiative, Kamlesh D Patel, Global Guide of Heartfulness, said, “Socio-psychology is more relevant and valuable today than in any other period in the last decades. It does not matter which strata of the society one belongs to. Mental health is an area of concern in all classes of the society. The role of our services is to create a friendlier association between mental health concerns and those who need support the most. Voice that Cares initiative was born out of this crucial need to move away from the stigma associated with it, educate the masses, and enhance the collective well-being of our society.”