Bengaluru: The Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) on Monday launched the Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-Manas) initiative to deal with the mental health issues, which got pronounced more after the outbreak of Covid pandemic.
Karnataka governor Thawar Chand Gehlot launched the facility virtually at a function held at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, in the presence of state health minister K Sudhakar, who is also vice-president of NIMHANS, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.
Acknowledging the mental health crisis in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and an urgent need to establish a digital mental health network that will withstand the challenges amplified by the pandemic, the Central government had announced National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) in the Union Budget 2022-23.
Tele-Manas aims to provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas. The programme includes a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre and International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing technology support. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bengaluru and National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHRSC) will provide the technical support.
Under the project, the Central aims to open at least one Tele-Manas Cell in each state and union territories (UT).
A toll-free, 24/7 helpline number (14416) has been set up across the country allowing callers to select the language of choice for availing services. Service is also accessible with 1-800-91-4416. The calls would be routed to Tele-Manas cells in the respective state and union territory.
Tele-Manas will be organised in two tier system; Tier 1 comprises of state Tele-Manas cells which include trained counsellors and mental health specialists. Tier 2 will comprise of specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)/Medical College resources for physical consultation and/or e-Sanjeevani for audio visual consultation. Presently there are 5 regional coordination centres along with 51 State/UT Tele Manas cells.
The initial rollout providing basic support and counselling through centralized interactive voice response system (IVRS) is being customized for use across all states and UTs. This will not only help in providing immediate mental healthcare services, but also facilitate continuum of care. Specialised care is being envisioned through the programme by linking Tele-Manas with other services like National tele-consultation service, e-Sanjeevani, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, mental health professionals, Ayushman Bharat health and wellness centres and emergency psychiatric facilities. Eventually, this will include the entire spectrum of mental wellness and illness, and integrate all systems that provide mental health care. NIMHANS has conducted training for 900 Tele Manas counsellors from majority of states/UTs.
The mentoring institutes are as follows: AIIMS, Patna, AIIMS Raipur, CIP Ranchi, AIIMS Bhopal, AIIMS Kalyani, AIIMS Bhubaneshwar, PGIMER, Chandigarh, Hospital for Mental Health, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Inst. of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour Bambolim Goa, AIIMS, Nagpur, AIIMS, Jodhpur, KGMU Lucknow, AIIMS Rishikesh, IHBAS, Delhi, IGMS, Shimla, Psychiatric Diseases Hospital, Govt. Medical College, Srinagar, LGBRIMH, Tezpur, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, IMHANS, Kozhikode, Kerala, IMH, Chennai, IMH, Hyderabad, JIPMER and AIIMS, Mangalagiri.
States/UTs launching Tele Mental Health Programme today include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chhattisgarh, Dadra Nagar Haveli and daman and Diu, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Director, NIMHANS, Pratima Murthy, joint secretary (MoHFW), Vishal Chauhan, students, faculties and other dignitaries along with the senior officials of the ministry were present at the event.