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Govt Integrates KIRAN Mental Health Helpline with TeleMANAS

Written by : Jayati Dubey

February 20, 2024

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Over the next three months, calls from KIRAN will be redirected to TeleMANAS as part of the phased transition.

In a move to address the rising demand for mental health support, the Central Government has announced the integration of two crucial mental health helplines – the KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline and TeleMANAS.

Dr V K Paul, Member (Health) at NITI Aayog, made the announcement during a two-day National Workshop on Mental Health in Delhi, emphasizing the nation's commitment to mental health.

The integration involves the merging of the KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline, established in September 2020, and TeleMANAS launched on World Mental Health Day in October 2022.

Helpline Integration & Collaborative Action

KIRAN has assisted over 1,27,390 callers, while TeleMANAS has handled 6,75,000 calls. Over the next three months, calls from KIRAN will be redirected to TeleMANAS as part of the phased transition. The move aims to enhance efficiency, reduce the burden on mental health services, and improve accessibility for individuals seeking support.

Expressing thoughts, Dr Paul said, "The merger of the KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline with TeleMANAS will reduce the burden and help in reaching the concerned persons with ease."

He further stressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders to design effective healthcare systems addressing mental health challenges. Dr Paul also acknowledged the potential of well-established primary healthcare centers such as Ayushman Aarogya Mandir in addressing mental health issues nationwide.

Additionally, he called for collective action, a 'Jan Andolan,' to promote mental health awareness. "Everyone needs to be on board for the cause, be it Government, Community, NGO, Individuals, etc., then this cause can be won," he added.

Role of TeleMANAS in Mental Health Awareness

TeleMANAS, as part of the integrated helpline, is expected to play a crucial role in providing mental health support to individuals across the country.

In August, the Union Health Ministry reported that Tele-MANAS received over two Lakh distress calls from across the country since its inception in October 2022.

With 42 functioning Tele Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System (MANAS) cells spread across 31 states and Union Territories, the service handles more than 1,300 daily calls in 20 languages.

Over 1,900 trained counselors operate the first line of services, addressing common concerns such as mood sadness, sleep disturbances, stress, and anxiety. Callers requiring specialized care are connected to appropriate services, including the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) and nearby healthcare facilities.

Emphasizing the importance of well-established healthcare centers Dr Paul noted that this workshop will help find ways to redress mental health-related issues through a network of well-developed primary healthcare centres, the Ayushman Aarogya Mandir across the nation.

According to him, the robust system of Ayushman Arogya Mandir can play a crucial role and will help reach all across the nation.

Dr Rajesh Aggarwal, secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, commended the Union Health Ministry for seamlessly integrating the KIRAN Helpline with TeleMANAS. He highlighted the significance of innovative approaches, including special education and proper care, in addressing mental health issues in children.

As part of the workshop, three manuals were released to simplify the complexities of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. These manuals cater to legal aid providers, mental health practitioners, and caregivers, offering comprehensive guidance on navigating the legal framework surrounding mental healthcare in India.

Rising Trend of Mental Health Offerings

A rising number of Indian startups are focusing on mental health to address the increasing global wellbeing challenge.

Last month, United We Care (UWC) introduced Stella 2.0, a virtual global wellness coach representing a significant shift from Generative AI to Cognitive AI. It can interact in over 20 languages, detect around 40 human emotions, and exhibit intent detection with over 94% efficacy.

In a similar vein, Bengaluru-based BramhAnsh Technologies introduced a wearable biofeedback device, Soonyam, offering real-time insights into psychological arousal, stress levels, and mental effort by utilizing the galvanic skin response (GSR) method.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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