By Asmita Sarkar:
Awareness about mental illness in India is limited and the country is going through a silent crisis that needs immediate attention. Even today, people go to temples and dargas to get rid of the ‘evil’ that has ‘possessed’ an individual because of which they behave in a strange way, believe many. Last year, a journalist friend, narrated to me a story that he witnessed, where his cousin, suffering from a mental illness, was taken to a Sadhu. He was instantly cured when the Sadhu thumped him on the back. This incident took place in the middle of the night, when nobody was there to witness the spectacle.
The conversation around mental health in India gets buried into dark corners in the hope that it will go unnoticed and cure itself.
In an effort to change this some hospitals and mental health organisations have started helplines to provide an open medium for individuals who would otherwise feel ashamed or scared to talk about their disease.
1. National Institute of Behavioural Institutions, West Bengal: 09836401234
2. Vandrevala Foundation Helpline, India: 1860 266 2345
3. iCall, Mumbai: +91 22 2556 3291
Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
4. St. Stephen’s Hospital and Emmanuel Hospital Association, 24×7 helpline: 1860-266-2345
5. KEM Hospital’s psychiatric department, Mumbai: 022-24131212
6. Samaritans, Mumbai: +91 22 3247 3267 / 022 6565 3267 / 022 6464 3267
Monday to Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
7. Aasra, Mumbai: +91 22 2754 6669 (24×7)
8. Jeevan Aastha helpline, Gujarat: 1800233330