”Mental health is a universal human right. The use of technology in mental health care is a force multiplier. The Tele Manas Seva, launched last year on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, has counselled more than 3,50,000 people till date and currently provides counselling to 2000 people through 44 Tele Manas Cells. More than 1000 calls are being received on this helpline every day,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said

New Delhi:

Use of digital technology in mental health is a force multiplier, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Tuesday said as he underlined that national tele mental health programme Tele-MANAS has counselled more than 3,50,000 people till date and over 1,000 calls are being received on this helpline every day.

Launched last year on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the programme provides counselling to 2,000 people through its 44 Tele-MANAS cells, he said at the National Mental Health Conclave here organised to mark World Mental Health Day. Addressing the gathering, Mandaviya lauded the resolve to work towards ensuring that the benefits of mental health care are available to all citizens of the country ensuring reach to the remotest areas.

The National Mental Health Survey published in 2015-16 was a pioneering initiative that brought to light that 10 per cent of the population is affected by mental health issues which reflects the huge burden it has on the affected people, society and economy, he stated.

”Mental health is a universal human right. The use of technology in mental health care is a force multiplier. The Tele Manas Seva, launched last year on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, has counselled more than 3,50,000 people till date and currently provides counselling to 2000 people through 44 Tele Manas Cells. More than 1000 calls are being received on this helpline every day,” Mandaviya said.

He also virtually inaugurated new facilities at NIMHANS and launched the logo of Tele-MANAS.

The minister stated that Ayushman Bharat health and wellness centres have facilitated the integration of mental health services with primary health services as priority services for mental health, neurological disorders and substance use disorders.

”District level activities are organized by a dedicated mental health intervention team stationed in the district hospital. Additionally, OPD, counselling, care and medical support for mental health issues are provided at community health centre and primary health centre level. They are being provided through 1.6 lakh AB-HWCs situated across the country. Mental health also features under the Prime Minister-Jan Arogya Yojana,” he said.

Mandaviya further said that to improve coverage and access to mental health care, district level activities have been supported under the National Mental Health Program in 743 districts across all 36 states and Union territories.

He highlighted that at the tertiary level, there are a total of 47 government mental health hospitals in the country, including three central mental health institutions at Bengaluru, Ranchi and Tejaspur. Many other central and state government hospitals have psychiatry departments.

In addition, psychiatry departments have been established in the newly-established All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Highlighting the government’s commitment and resolve to raise awareness and ensure delivery of healthcare services to the last mile, Mandaviya said, ”Apart from Tele-MANAS, the government has taken several steps to address mental health issues of children and women under the National Child Health Programme, National Adolescent Health Program and RCH programmes.’As life expectancy improves, attention is also being paid to the mental health of the elderly.”

He also urged all to leverage the use of digital technology so that health care reaches everyone, citing drug addiction and workplace stress as significant contributors to mental health issues.