As the second wave of Covid-19 cases wreaked havoc on India, the subsequent lockdown had taken a toll on the mental health of the people. But now the picture can be seen changing. People are slowly getting back at their jobs, travel restrictions have been reduced to certain extent. People are steadily getting back to normalcy.
In these uncertain times, a team of 20 highly qualified and practising counsellors, the former students of Pune’s Fergusson college, are lending a helping hand.
The group of alumni from the psychology department of Fergusson college, along with the Anhad association, are standing together for a cause. They are implanting hope in the despaired minds. Their aim is to provide free counselling to people who are in need of it.
Actress Parna Pethe, who has masters in psychology, tells WeJan, “Second wave had a huge impact on the mental health of the people. People lost their dear ones, jobs. There was a need for them to regain their emotional strength.
Mental health is as important as physical health. But still mental health facilities are not affordable by all. Every person though rich or poor should be able to avail the benefit of helpline. The people who cannot afford these services should not be left out. So this helpline was initially started”.
“We are providing free-of-cost counselling because, in these dark times, there is a need for people to find mental support without worrying about money,” says Gauri Kaulgud, an art-based therapy practitioner and counsellor.
“Another reason is people are losing their jobs, some are having hand to mouth position. In such times, people cannot afford these services,” Gauri adds.
Speaking about working on this initiative, Gauri tells WeJan, “The helpline is open for all from 10 am to 5 pm for the whole week.
The response to the free counselling has been amazing. Till now, the team has counselled many people addressing various issues. People from worldwide are taking the benefit of this helpline.
Parna Pethe highlights, “People are needing counselling not only in respect of mental or physical health, but also in respect of political, social and administrative. Another important concern is the uncertain future of students”.
Along with general public, the team is also extending help to the Pune police. The idea is to de stigmatise and create a safe space for policemen and women to seek help.
Mental health issue is still considered a taboo. But the picture is getting clearer as people are showing the courage to come forward and speak openly about it.
Receiving help is the most important thing anyone can do for themselves. Mental illness should not be something to be ashamed about or thought differently. When mental illness is treated equally to other illnesses, more people will have the courage to get help and better their lives.
Helpline Number: 7414 948 259