One million calls received on government’s mental health helpline: Union Health Ministry

More than one million calls have been received on Tele-MANAS since its launch in October 2022

| Updated: 30 May, 2024 6:08 pm IST

NEW DELHI: More than one million calls have been received on Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) since its launch in October 2022, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.

“An average of 3,500 calls were received daily on Tele-MANAS,” said the official statement. This program operates 51 Tele-MANAS cells across all states and union territories.

Highlighting the increased awareness and utilization of mental health services in the country, the ministry reported that the number of callers to the program has risen from around 12,000 in December 2022 to over 90,000 in May 2024.

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“This increase in engagement underscores the importance of continued investment and expansion of mental health initiatives to ensure that everyone has access to the support they need,” the ministry added.

The integration of the Tele-MANAS helpline with initiatives like e-Sanjeevani will further enhance the platform’s accessibility and effectiveness.

“By continuing to promote awareness and accessibility, Tele-MANAS can further contribute to addressing the mental health challenges facing the nation,” the ministry said.

Tele-MANAS was established with the aim to provide universal access to affordable, equitable, and quality mental health care through 24/7 tele-mental health counseling services, particularly catering to people in remote or underserved areas. The program aims to enhance health service capacity to deliver accessible and timely mental healthcare through a tele-mental health network.

Tele-MANAS was established in response to the mental health crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian government launched the National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) in the Union Budget 2022-23, and it was launched on World Mental Health Day in October 2022.

The NCRB reported a total of 1,70,924 suicides in 2022, which is an increase from the 1,64,033 suicides reported in 2021. Major causes of suicides identified were family problems and illness, with other causes including professional issues, isolation, abuse, violence, mental disorders, addiction, financial loss, and chronic pain.

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