Chandigarh, India, April, 2020 -- The lockdown and the curfew seems to have taken its toll on residents with the state government’s helpline on counselling for stress and anxiety receiving, on average, over 200 calls a day. The helpline has received 800 calls till Friday evening.
Forty psychiatrists and counsellors from the state health department take calls from 10am to 8pm at the helpline number 1800 180 4104. Governance reforms department additional chief secretary Vinni Mahajan had launched this helpline. Doctors and psychiatrists associated with the helpline do not get to know the name of the caller.
"Most calls we have received in two days are about people who are in extreme stress, just because they or somebody in their family has a mild cold or cough. A caller from Ludhiana said he was convinced that he had contracted covid-19 based on such symptoms. Our psychiatrist took an hour to persuade him that such fear only because of the stress," said Kamal Gupta, manager technical, department of governance reforms.
Senior citizens are also calling in with complaints of anxiety. "A family member of one such person, saying that his father was so stressed that he was reporting loss of memory and had even developed suicidal tendencies. Our team guided him," a psychiatrist deployed with the helpline said.
Another psychiatrist added that the unprecedented scenario over the past month had led to manifold rise in stress levels. He added that calls had been received from youngsters as well, who wanted to share their stress and relax before making critical choices for career, and examinations to take. "We plan to expand this helpline to provide career counselling for young people. The department is working on it with speed," said Ravi Bhagat, CEO, governance reforms department.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, April 27, 2020
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