Mental health remains a major concern Globally and in countries like India the challenges are doubled because of poor awareness of mental health illnesses, stigma, high treatment gap and shortage of mental health professionals to manage widely prevalent mental illnesses. The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to deprive a person of their human rights or to exclude them from decisions about their own health. Yet all over the world, people with mental health conditions continue to experience a wide range of human rights violations. Many are excluded from community life and discriminated against, while many more cannot access the mental health care they need or can only access care that violates their human rights.
Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in Ten people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increasing number of adolescents and young people. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people across the world.
Year by year, the themes for World Mental Health Day are:
World Mental Health Day 2023 Theme: MENTAL HEALTH IS A UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHT
World Mental Health Day 2022 Theme: Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority
World Mental Health Day 2021 Theme: Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality
World Mental Health Day 2020 Theme: Move for mental health: Increased investment in mental health
World Mental Health Day 2019 Theme: Focus on Suicide Prevention
World Mental Health Day 2018 Theme: Young people and mental health in a changing world
World mental health day was first organized on October 10, 1992, by World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization having a presence in more than 150 countries. The initiative was proposed by Richard Hunter, Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health, in 1992. Till 1994 the day was observed without any specific theme; it was mainly focused on educating people about the general issues of mental health Later in 1994, based on Eugene Brody suggestions, then Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health, the day was celebrated based on the theme and the theme for the year 1994 was "Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World" Since then, World Federation for Mental Health has announced a particular theme to promote and educate people bout mental health issues, its preventions and supports to create a better opportunity for mentally affected people.
Initiatives Launched by Health and Medical Education Department to Address the Growing Concerns of Mental Health in the J&K UT.
Launch of TELE –MANAS A game Changer and a Reprise
The National Tele Mental Health Programme Tele MANAS was launched in India by Ministry of Health and Family welfare in association with NIMHANS Bangaluru in the month of November 2022. In the UT of J&K Tele MANAS was officially launched by Hon’ble LG J&K on 4th November 2022 which envisages to work as a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive 24X7 tele-mental health facility with the aim to provide universal access to equitable, accessible, affordable and quality mental health care through 24X7 tele-mental health counselling services. One Tele Manas UT level Cell and one Mentoring Institute has been established at IMHANS, Psychiatric Diseases Hospital, GMC Srinagar, which is providing services 24*7 to the people of J&K. Till now 26678 calls have been received and many distress situations/ suicides have been averted. J&K stands second in terms of the total no. of calls received.
Tele manas Chat Bot
NHM J&K conceptualized the first of its kind Chat bot for Tele- MANAS in the Country to improve the accessibility to Mental Health Services.Tele MANAS CHATBOT was launched in J&K on 5th July 2023 by Hon’ble LG,UT of J&K.The objective of this concept was to reach out to the youth of the UT. As the youth of today is more tech savvy and prone to chatting, the chatbot was developed so that anyone can consult the counselors using this chat bot.Also, this is the first CHAT BOT in India which is both AI based and has the provision of Two- Way Communication.
There is also a plan to provide access to this CHAT BOT in the local/regional languages i.e Urdu and Hindi so as to cater to the rural and the far-flung population of the UT of J&K.
Once the user accesses the CHAT BOT, there is an interface which assists the user regarding the various issues pertaining to mental health. It is pertinent to mention that the The 6 responses incorporated in the Tele MANAS CHATBOT are the frequent reasons for which the beneficiaries commonly sought help and these responses are:
- Feeling Sad or Low
- Anxiety Issues
- Sleeping Troubles
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Physical Intimacy Issues
- Addiction Problems
On clicking upon any of the issue, there are further a set of questions which help in identifying the underlying cause. In case of urgent issues related to suicidal thoughts, the user is immediately directly directed to consult a psychiatrist. It also provides solutions/suggestions and ways (like Meditation, Yoga and Breathing Exercises) to deal with the issues.
In case the user is not satisfied with the pre-fabricated set of questions and suggestions, he/she has an option for chatting with the counsellor or calling directly on the Tele MANAS Cell and speaking to the counsellor regarding the issues. Depending on the severity of the issues of the individual, call is forwarded to the counsellor/psychologist/psychiatrist.
Link for Chatbot: https://wa.me/919797600601?text=/telemanas
Whatsapp No: 9797600601
There have been 212 conversations till now. Anxiety related issues, depression, substance abuse and relationship issues predominate the reasons for using the CHATBOT.
The writer is Programme Manager Mental Health NHM J&K/DNO Kashmir Division and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org