Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Dhani Ram Shandil on Thursday (September 28) launched a comprehensive mental health care service to provide to people universal access to equitable, affordable and accessible mental health care online. The key focus of ‘Tele MANAS’ will be on adolescent age groups at school and college levels as younger generations take extra stress to perform better in academics and at their workplaces, according to a statement.
The state government has set up round-the-clock call centres in a public private participation mode for the programme. Counsellors have been appointed to receive calls from patients and their attendants on the toll free numbers 14416 or 1800-891-4416, the minister said.
Initially, there will be eight counsellors for online counselling and the number can be increased later, if needed, he added.
The Union Health Ministry launched the Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (MANAS) to cater to people living in remote and under-served areas.
The Centre has provided a grant of Rs 1.06 crore to start the service in the state. The Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences – Delhi has been assigned as the regional coordination centre and will help build capacity, Shandil said.
The Tele MANAS programme has a two tier system. Tier-1 will be a state-level cell with trained counsellors while Tier-2 will offer physical consultations with a psychiatrist at medical colleges or district-level hospitals where patients can go directly or after a referral from the call centres.
The Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital – Shimla will be the mentoring institute for the programme and help develop state-specific protocols and guidelines. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences and IIIT – Bengaluru will provide technical support.
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