The counselling helpline of Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), a sister organisation of NGO Banyan has received around 1850 calls in the past two months.
Out of 1850, some 42 calls were from public and the remaining 1800 (approx) were made by their outpatients.
The NGO that has a unit in Mylapore began its counselling service in mid-April to help people with anxiety/depression during the lockdown.
Says Dr Archana Padmakar, Assistant Director, Emergency Care and Recovery Centre, The Banyan, “In most cases, people would be overwhelmed due to consecutive lockdowns. Some would be worried as they were unable to meet their loved ones living on the same street, couples who tested Covid positive would be depressed as there would be no one to take care of their children.”
“There were also a number of cases where people having a common cold/ flu would associate their symptoms to that of the virus and become anxious over it.”
To solve their issues, she says psychologists from their organisation would speak to the callers for hours and provide appropriate counselling. “If they are anxious about having virus-like symptoms, we tell them to consult a doctor. We also ask them to remain strong even if it is Covid.”
After the counselling session, we also follow up with the concerned person at regular intervals to ensure if they are doing well, she says
The NGO offers counselling in Tamizh. It is also working to get a toll-free counselling helpline soon.
People who may need counselling may call the below-mentioned numbers in the specified timings. The services are open on all days.
24570006 : 4 pm – 8 pm
98412 26254 : 8 am – 12 pm
9840325184 : 12 pm – 4 pm
8754475532 : 12 pm – 4 pm
BALM is a mental health and social science research and teaching institution based in Kanchipuram. It can be reached at Ph: 9940592691.