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Helpline to deal with emotional problems

Jan. 11: Emotionally disturbed individuals or families of mentally ill persons can now get advice by dialling a helpline number.

Social welfare minister Akon Bora today launched the tele-counselling helpline, Paritranam, at a function here.

Paritranam has been devised by Ashadeep, an NGO working for the cause of the mentally challenged.

The service, the first-of-its-kind to be started in the city as well as in the entire state, will be supported for a period of one year by New Delhi-based Hans Foundation.

Any person in any kind of emotional distress can avail this service by dialling 995-447-1111 from 9am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday.

The identity of the callers will be kept confidential if the callers wish so.

Speaking on the occasion, Bora said, “The launch of Paritranam bides well for people suffering from different forms of emotional distress and mental problems. If an individual is disturbed and in need of support, he can get valuable advice on how to face a situation positively. The state government may consider the setting up of such a tele-counselling helpline in the districts in the future. We will also lend support to this service.”

Many people in different age groups suffer from anxiety and other emotional distress. They feel very alienated and have no one to share their troubles with.

If these problems are not resolved they may develop into psychological disorders that may affect an individual’s normal response to a particular situation in his daily life. Being unable to deal with such a situation, many take drastic steps like committing suicide.

“We have witnessed an increasing number of youngsters developing suicidal tendencies for a number of reasons. This service is meant to address problems like examination phobia and changing lifestyles, suicidal tendencies and other forms of mental trauma,” said Anjana Goswami, the director of Ashadeep.

Families of people who show symptoms of mental illness can also avail the service to get advice on where to take them for treatment.

“We have five trained counsellors and one co-coordinator, who will ask the person on the other end of the line certain questions to identify his or her actual problem. In case of the mentally ill, they will question the person’s family regarding his behaviour pattern and his touch with reality. Then considering the severity of the ailment, he or she will be referred to medical experts,” said Goswami.