World Mental Health Day October 10: PGI to mentor eight states for T-MANAS initiative

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the mental and emotional health of people of all ages and from all walks of life. To address this pressing need of the hour, the Center announced T-MANAS (Tele-Mental Health Assistance and Nationally Actionable Plan through States) to provide mental health support and interventions to people in remote and neglected areas.

The goal of the initiative, which will be launched Monday on World Mental Health Day (October 10), is to set up at least one center in every state and UT, a 24×7 facility, to reach people and provide immediate support. for their psychological well-being.

“For this initiative, PGIMER, Chandigarh will be the mentoring center for at least eight states including Punjab, Haryana and Leh-Ladakh (UT), and the team at each center will include psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, audio-visuals and IT operators working in three shifts to ensure seamless and timely delivery of help and care to relieve callers’ psychological distress, around the clock,” says Dr. Aseem Mehra, Assistant Professor , Department of Psychiatry, PGI.

The Institute was recently approved as a collaborating center of the World Psychiatric Association, which comprises 147 psychiatric societies in 121 countries, and PGI became the second center in India, the other being NIMHANS, Bengaluru.

“There will be a specified number of posts for each center and the budget for each center is approximately Rs 2 crore to purchase desktop computers, internet connection, telephone lines for connectivity and technical staff and if necessary, we can ask for more budget” adds

Dr Mahra. T-MANAS, believes Dr. Mehra, will be an important step for mental health crisis intervention, anti-stigma and awareness raising.

“Ninety percent of people don’t come into the treatment network and there’s a huge gap between those who need treatment and those who get it, and telemedicine can play an important role to reach people and be the first line of contact. The first step is to identify the patient and their problems. PGI will provide support in logistics and patient care and will intervene for referral and treatment at the Institute, especially in complicated cases. Community involvement is vital, especially in rural and remote areas.

areas where mental health awareness is lacking.

“Also, many know they have a mental health problem, but don’t know how to ask for help, and

T-MANAS has the potential to connect many dots. We hope to identify patients by forming the community as village sarpanches, which can motivate people to seek help…the vision is to link existing mental health services with medical schools, district mental health programs and health and wellness centers.

“There could be issues with connectivity, language and cultural barriers, but these can be overcome with time and experience. Therapy and care are important for treatment and improving quality of life and we just want to reach out to everyday people and let them know that help is just a phone call away,” says Dr Mehra.

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