‘Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States’ launched

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New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) The Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was launched on Monday on occasion of the World Mental Health Day.

The initiative was launched virtually by Thawar Chand Gehlot, Governor of Karnataka at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, in the presence of K. Sudhakar, Minister for Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education, Karnataka & Vice-President, NIMHANS.

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 announced National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) in the Union Budget 2022-23.

“Good mental health with Tele MANAS! PM @NarendraModi Ji’s Govt launches ‘Tele Mental Health Assistance & Networking Across States’ to provide all access to affordable mental health care in every State/UT. It will serve as the digital arm of the District Mental Health Programme,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet.

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.

The Central government aims to open at least one Tele-MANAS Cell in each State/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.

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.

Currently, there are 5 regional coordination centres along with 51 state and UTs Tele-MANAS cells.

The initial rollout providing basic support and counselling through centralised Interactive Voice Response system (IVRS) is being customised for use across all States and UTs.

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.

The NIMHANS has conducted training for 900 Tele MANAS counsellors from majority of states/UTs.

–IANS

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