Helpline to the rescue

Counsellors manning a helpline set up by voluntary organisations say they are getting more calls related to domestic violence, relationship issues and obsessive compulsive disorders.

 For example, a parent called up saying their son was obsessed with sex and wouldn't listen to them. He called girls at his place and visited brothels every day. Another caller said she was forced to shift from Australia to Delhi because of physical and mental violence meted out by her mother-in-law.

The Emmanuel Hospital Association's 24x7 Delhi helpline gets four to 60 calls every day. More than half of them are about domestic violence, obsessive compulsive disorders or relationship problems.

“We have nine counsellors working in different shifts who encourage people to think and analyse their situation. This helps people identify better solutions to their problems. If an extreme case is reported, they forward the calls to psychiatrists who either counsel them over the phone or call them to their clinics. We have started getting calls from places outside Delhi as well,” said Jessica Parmar, EHA helpline project manager.

Exam fever
Since the beginning of February, the helpline has been getting calls from students and parents who are stressed over the school board examinations.

“Ahead of the exam season, we have made special arrangements like 24x7 service and assistance from counsellors who are better trained to handle students and parents. The counsellors  also call back students for follow-up assistance. Besides, we also send messages to all prominent schools in the city to alert them about the need for stress-busting sessions,” said Dr Ashok Chacko, regional director of the helpline.

The calls – at 1860 266 2345 -are mainly taken by clinical psychologists trained in counselling.  The helpline is a collaboration of St Stephen’s Hospital, Mar Thoma Church, EHA and  Vandrevala Foundation, which also runs a 24x7 mental health helpline in Mumbai.

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