Mental health issues arising out of the COVID pandemic

Health and Family Welfare

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1083 TO BE ANSWERED ON 20TH SEPTEMBER, 2020 MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARISING OUT OF THE COVID PANDEMIC 1083 DR. AMAR PATNAIK: Will the Minister of HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE be pleased to state: (a) whether Government has taken cognisance of the mental health issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) if so, steps taken by Government to address mental health issues arising out of the pandemic; and (c) whether Government has conducted any study or collected data on the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE (SHRI ASHWINI KUMAR CHOUBEY) (a) to (c): The Government has not conducted any study to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the population. However, realizing the impact that COVID-19 may have on the mental health of the people, the Government has taken a number of initiatives to provide psychosocial support during COVID-19. These initiatives include: (i) Setting up of a 24/7 helpline to provide psychosocial support, by mental health professionals, to the entire affected population, divided into different target groups viz children, adult, elderly, women and healthcare workers. (ii) Issuance of guidelines/ advisories on management of mental health issues, catering to different segments of the society. (iii)Advocacy through various media platforms in the form of creative and audio-visual materials on managing stress and anxiety, and promoting an environment of support and care for all. (iv)Issuance of detailed guidelines by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru- "Mental Health in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic - Guidance for General Medical and Specialized Mental Health Care Settings". (v) All the guidelines, advisories and advocacy material can be accessed on Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website under “Behavioural Health – Psychosocial helpline” (https://www.mohfw.gov.in/). (vi)Online capacity building of health workers by NIMHANS in providing psychosocial support and training through (iGOT)-Diksha platform.