Coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. With this, even our mental health has taken a hit. The constant barrage on the news and studies showing the scale of the spread of COVID-19 can certainly take a toll on us mentally.
Additionally, the lockdown while necessary can also be detrimental for some when it comes to keeping their sanity. Many people may be forced to stay indoors, sometimes in abusive households and may be forced to combat situations that can take a mental toll on them.
Therefore, while it is important to acknowledge the privilege that you have right now, it is equally important to take care of yourself mentally. However the usual sources of support groups, psychiatrists and therapists aren’t possible right now owing to the lockdown.
Thus to take care of yourself mentally, you’ll have to look at some other ways. Many professionals have started taking sessions online and even putting out daily content that can help one manage their mental health. Similarly, organizations and governments are recognizing this too, with several helplines being launched during this period.
We take a look at some of these initiatives in India, and here’s how you can contact them to keep your mental health in check!
NIMHANS Mental Health Helpline
A toll-free helpline number has been launched by the government for people who may be facing any mental health issues during the ongoing lockdown. The number has been launched by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore,
The institute collaborates with all other institutes across the country, to tackle any behavioural issues that may arise.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health briefed that it is time put a united front against the disease and therefore these institutes should be equipped to support anyone who’s dealing with mental issues at this time.
Contact Number: 08046110007
YUKTI Portal For Students
This is a dedicated helpline for you if you’re a student facing mental health problems. Many students are facing difficulty due to the closure of schools and colleges. The uncertainly about their studies, placements and the condition of the economy is putting many under duress.
For this, the HRD Ministry has launched a helpline portal for students, names YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation). The portal also contains a mental health helpline, to address psychosocial concerns of students during the lockdown.
This has been done to reassure the student community to avoid any kind of stress or panic in the prevailing situation vis-a-vis their studies, health and other issues. The helpline will be regularly monitored and managed by counsellors to provide the students with a chance to seek professional help in these uncertain times.
This is for those who are living in the state of Maharashtra and are on the lookout for a free helpline for their mental care needs. Mpower, BMC and the Maharashtra government together have come up a 24x7 helpline to address mental health concerns during COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the helpline is to increase awareness about mental health and make it more accessible to the citizens of Maharashtra.
The service will be available for free to the people of Maharashtra, where they can speak with trained mental health counsellors, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists of Mpower. Counselling will also be available in three languages - Marathi, Hindi and English.
Additionally, the Maharashtra government aims to garner support and spread awareness about the initiative by mobilizing its social media channels. For this the available infrastructure, communication channels and social media platforms to propagate the ‘BMC-Mpower 1on1’ helpline and appeal to people of Maharashtra to avail this free service.
Contact Number: 1800-120-820050.
Online Mental Health Support Groups
If you’re looking for mental health support online, government helplines and portals aren’t the only options. Several professionals and organizations have made their services free during this time. You could check into virtual support groups and virtually connect with others, learning tips for managing anxiety and taking care of yourself during this time.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, Headspace, an app that offered guided meditations has made its services free. The company is currently offering free subscriptions to help people de-stress in these difficult times.
You could also resort to articles and suggestions by online health experts and even a few podcasts that could help you take care of yourself. Check out a comprehensive list here!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also highlighted the importance of encouraging mental and psychological well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, stressing that “this is not going to be a sprint, but a marathon”.
Therefore, it becomes extremely important to take care of your mental health during this lockdown to make sure you come out of this in the best way possible. If you need any remote support, there are online platforms like BetterHelp, where you can connect with a mental health professional in the comfort of your own home. If there are any other ways you have been managing your mental health, let us know in the comments section below!