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MoHFW & MoD Sign MoU to Launch Tele-MANAS Cell for Armed Forces

Written by : Jayati Dubey

June 6, 2024

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This initiative is expected to significantly improve the mental health support available to military personnel, ensuring their mental well-being is promptly and effectively addressed.

In a strategic move to enhance mental health support for military personnel, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

This collaboration aims to operate a special cell of Tele-MANAS, the National Telemental Health Helpline, at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune for a two-year pilot period.

Aradhna Patnaik, additional secretary & MD of MoHFW, and Lt General Daljit Singh, director general of Armed Forces Medical Services, signed the MoU.

The special Tele-MANAS Cell was inaugurated on December 1, 2023, at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune. The ceremony was presided over by the chief of defence staff, General Anil Chauhan, in the presence of senior officials from both the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Defence.

Addressing Unique Military Stressors

The collaboration between the MoHFW and MoD recognizes the unique stressors faced by Indian military personnel.

The operational environment, cultural challenges, and specific stressors related to regional conflicts necessitate a specialized approach to mental healthcare in the Armed Forces. The new Tele-MANAS cell aims to effectively address these unique mental health needs.

Speaking at the inauguration, Lt General Daljit Singh emphasized the long-standing need for mental health counseling within the armed forces. He stated that the dedicated Tele-MANAS cell would provide crucial mental health assistance around the clock for armed forces personnel and their families.

This initiative is expected to significantly improve the mental health support available to military personnel, ensuring their mental well-being is promptly and effectively addressed.

Aradhna Patnaik highlighted the importance of attending to the distinct mental health requirements of the armed forces. She noted that the specialized Tele-MANAS cell would provide targeted support to meet the unique mental health challenges faced by military personnel and their families.

Overview of Tele-MANAS

Tele-MANAS is the digital extension of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP), offering comprehensive, integrated, and inclusive 24/7 tele-mental health services.

The initiative provides a toll-free number, 14416, accessible in each State and Union Territory (UT) for easy access to mental health support.

Currently, there are 51 operational Tele-MANAS cells across all 36 States and UTs, offering services in 20 different languages. Since its launch in October 2022, Tele-MANAS has received over 10 Lakh calls and is managing more than 3,500 calls daily.

This data indicates a significant demand for mental health services, underscoring the importance of addressing mental health issues comprehensively and inclusively.

The collaboration between MoHFW and MoD is expected to have far-reaching implications for the mental health and well-being of armed forces personnel.

The initiative ensures that the unique mental health needs of military personnel and their families are addressed promptly and effectively by providing direct access to specialized care.


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