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A portal for mental healthcare from Oct 10

To address the growing issue of mental illness during Covid, Mental Health Foundation of India has launched an exclusive web portal for mental healthcare. Called MiHOPE, the portal will be functional from October 10. People can access it for online consultations including with AIIMS doctors.

The announcement was made during the ongoing Mental Health Access Summit 2020, which is taking place between October 4 and 11.

The summit focuses on structural barriers to accessing treatment for mental health problems like lack of mental health professionals and inadequate recognition of mental healthcare.

The portal is meant to help people overcome stress-related disorders and prevent emotional and mental health problems through diet, yoga, meditation and other lifestyle changes.

Dr Nand Kumar, professor, department of psychiatry, AIIMS, said: “Mental health issues were a major cause of suffering and contributed to the global burden of disease long before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the collective experience of the pandemic ‘exacerbated’ symptoms of poor mental health such as anxiety, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal tendencies… Also, general access to healthcare, and especially mental healthcare, has been massively impacted and hampered in this time of crisis.”

Dr Rajesh Sagar, head of the psychiatry department at AIIMS, said, “A lot of effort is being made at different levels to create awareness on mental health problems so that people in distress can talk about their issues. We have been providing telemedicine facilities to our patients since the early days of the pandemic. The need of the hour is community mobilisation to tackle the emerging problem of mental health illness in India.” – The Indian Express