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Centre merges KIRAN with TeleMANAS to optimize resources

Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog inaugurated two-day National Workshop on Mental Health. The workshop aims to bring together senior officers from all the states along with mentoring institutes for TeleMANAS, marking a significant step towards addressing mental health challenges in the nation. Dr Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities was also present.

On this occasion, Dr Paul announced the merger of the KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline with TeleMANAS. KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline has served over 1,27,390 callers since its establishment in September 2020 with Tele-Manas, the National Tele Mental Health Helpline. Tele-Manas, launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2022, has witnessed an exponential rise in service seekers and has since handled 6,75,000 calls. The merger between the two aims to optimize resources, enhance service quality, and address the increasing demand for mental health support in India by fostering a seamless transition and extensive public awareness about the merger process. For the next three months, calls from KIRAN will be diverted to TeleMANAS and eventually, the first helpline will be phased out.

Elated with the merger of KIRAN Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline with TeleMANAS, Dr Paul said that “it will reduce the burden and help in reaching the concerned persons with ease”.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr V K Paul reiterated India’s commitment to the mental health cause by bringing together all the stakeholders on one platform over a period of two days through the workshop. He expressed confidence that the workshop will churn out the best thoughts and learnings from all walks of life and help in designing a robust healthcare system pertaining to the mental health issues in the country.

Applauding the health care professionals, especially frontline healthcare workers, he said that “this workshop will be helpful in finding ways in redressing the mental health related issues through network of well-developed primary healthcare centres, the Ayushman Aarogya Mandir across the nation”. “The robust system of Ayushman Arogya Mandir can play a crucial role and will be helpful in reaching to all across the nation”, he added.

He also urged everyone to come together on the mental health issues in the form of a ‘Jan Andolan’ in the interest of making India a healthy nation. “Everone needs to be on board for the cause be it Government, Community, NGO, Individuals etc. then this cause can be won”, he said.

Dr Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities said that “innovative ways including special education and proper care with treatment may help in redressal of mental health issues related to children”. He also expressed gratitude to the Union Health Ministry for timely integration of KIRAN Helpline with TeleMANAS.

On the occasion, three manuals namely Training Manual for Implementation of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 for Legal Aid Providers, for Caregivers and Reference and for Mental Healthcare Professionals of Central Mental Health Authority were released on this occasion. These manuals are meant to serve as a vital resource aimed at simplifying the complexities of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. These manuals are tailored for legal aid providers, mental health practitioners, and caregivers and offer comprehensive guidance on navigating the legal framework surrounding mental health care in India.

The two-days’ workshop encompassing several sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including policy reviews, mindfulness sessions, integration of mental health in primary and secondary healthcare, global best practice models, enhancing mental health literacy, challenges, and the way forward in TeleMANAS, and the role of Mentoring Institutes. The workshop will feature panel discussions moderated by experts from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the World Health Organization, providing a platform for sharing insights, experiences, and best practices in mental health care.

L S Changsan, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, MoHFW; Indrani Kaushal, Economic Advisor, MoHFW; Dr Roderico H Ofrin, WHO Representative to India; Dr B. N Gangadhar, Chairman, National Medical Council; Dr Pratima Murthy, Director, NIMHANS and senior officials from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and States/UTs as well as Experts in the field of mental health were also present on the occasion.
MB Bureau

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