With an aim to reach out to more people who are facing different kinds of psycho-social distress, an upgraded Speak2us Mental Health Helpline, with a cloud telephony system, was launched by the M.S. Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation (MSCT & RF) here on Tuesday, in association with the HCL Foundation, Madurai Corporation and CII, Madurai Zone.
Anyone facing mental health issues or those seeking support for their friends or relatives in mental distress can contact 93754 93754 to reach out to trained volunteers that can provide emotional support. People with severe mental health issues who may need additional support will be directed towards mental health professionals that work with the foundation.
These 45 volunteers who include psychologists, social workers and retired teaching professionals were trained on the basics of mental health counselling by Dr. Rajaram Subbian, a psycho-social consultant and Executive Director of Basic Needs India, Bengaluru. Though the helpline has been functional since October 2020, with the cloud telephony system now in place, it can cater to more calls efficiently.
While speaking at the inauguration, Dr. C. Ramasubramanian, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Founder of MSCT & RF, said that around 13% of the Indian population suffers from some kind of mental health issue and Tamil Nadu stands second in the country when it comes to suicides.
“It is high time we started addressing our mental health requirements. This helpline is an initiative on the same lines. It aims to create a safe and supportive space for people in distress to open up about their problems,” he shared.
Collector S. Aneesh Sekhar felt that the initiative was a first of its kind in a tier-II city. “A helpline for mental health is not very common even in tier I cities like Chennai. I believe it is a necessary and first-of-its-kind step. Most of the neighbourhood problems that we come across are results of mental health issues. We need to remove the stigma attached to it and start addressing them, just like how we deal with our physical health issues,” he said.
Regional Joint Director of Collegiate Education P. Pon Muthuramalingam and Chairman of CII, Madurai Zone B. Subbaraman spoke on the occasion. Mr. Pon Muthuramalingam promised to share the helpline number to colleges so that students will become aware of it.
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