Assam health dept launches helpline for coping with anxiety


GUWAHATI: The Assam health department has launched a toll-free helpline “Monon”, for people in home or institutional quarantine and COVID positive patients in the state who struggle to cope with anxiety or even depression in these trying times.

Not just COVID-19 beneficiaries, the professional counselling service, which was launched under the aegis of the department, National Health Mission and Assam Cares on Sunday, is also open for serving anyone suffering from mental stress and tension.

“The government of Assam’s initiative, Monon is now active. Do not let depression or anxiety get to you, call 104 today and seek professional support,” read a tweet from the official Twitter handle of 104 Sarathi Assam, on Tuesday.

People seeking professional advice can dial the toll free number, 104 and speak to psychiatrists and mental health volunteers who in turn will look to provide solutions to cope with their anxiety and depression.

Reportedly, a dedicated team of 220 professional psychiatrists and mental health volunteers has been now engaged by the health department to counsel COVID patients and help them come to terms with their state of mind and body and find ways to ease their situation.

Assam health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier informed the media of the health department’s initiative to stitch together a volunteering network of trained psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical psychologists and counsellors to help COVID-19 patients and also those in quarantine, to overcome any mental or physical health issue faced by them.

The 104 Sarathi Assam helpline has been disseminating information in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and ministry of health and family welfare during the lockdown.

Although the helpline has been providing counselling in addition to medical or health-related advice, “Monon” had to be launched as most of the tele-callers earlier were not formally trained as psychologists.

A couple of months back, the psychiatry department of Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in collaboration with Assam Police too had launched six helpline numbers for tele-counseling every day.

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