The National Tele Mental Health Programme (Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States: Tele MANAS, the digital arm of the ‘District Mental Health Programme’) was introduced by the Indian government in October 2022 to enhance mental health services in the country. It has achieved a remarkable milestone by receiving over 2,00,000 toll-free calls from all over the nation since its launch. This demonstrates consistent and impressive growth, as the number of calls increased rapidly from 1 lakh in April 2023 to 2 lakh within just three months. The program is making a positive impact on mental health service delivery and is gaining significant traction among people seeking assistance.
More About the News
- The Tele MANAS program has achieved a significant milestone with 42 operational cells in 31 states and union territories, providing mental health support in 20 languages.
- More than 1,900 trained counselors are actively assisting callers, addressing common concerns like sadness, sleep problems, stress, and anxiety.
- The counselors have completed the loop of care by following up on around 7,000 calls with callbacks.
- During exam seasons, there was a noticeable increase in calls related to exam stress, and the counselors provided valuable support and self-help strategies to help the students perform well. The program aims to reach more students and adolescents in educational institutes to offer mental health support.
- Promotional efforts through various media platforms, including print, radio, and social media, have been successful. Tele MANAS will continue to provide basic counseling and mental health services while connecting callers to essential resources, including integration with e Sanjeevani.
Reaching the 2-lakh call mark in just 9 months is a remarkable achievement for Tele MANAS, and it is moving towards its ultimate goal of creating a comprehensive digital mental health network across India, ensuring no one is left behind.
About Tele MANAS
The Indian government introduced a new program called Tele MANAS under the National Tele Mental Health Programme in the Union Budget 2022-23. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is overseeing its implementation.
To achieve its goals, the MoHFW created a National Technical Advisory Group (NTAG) and three technical advisory sub-committees.
- Tele MANAS will function in two tiers.
- Tier 1 will have State Tele MANAS cells with trained counselors and mental health specialists.
- Tier 2 will involve specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) or Medical College resources for in-person consultations, or eSanjeevani for audiovisual consultations.
- The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) will play a crucial role as the Apex Nodal Institute for mentoring and monitoring the Tele MANAS program.
- To ensure effective coordination and implementation, five regional coordinating centers have been established: NIMHANS in Bengaluru, LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH) in Tezpur, Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) in Ranchi, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Delhi, and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.
- These regional coordinating centers will work in collaboration with 23 mentoring institutions and 51 State/Union Territory cells to ensure seamless and efficient delivery of tele-mental health services across the country.
- NIMHANS, being the apex institute, will provide guidance and support to these coordinating centers and institutions in their efforts to mentor and monitor the Tele MANAS program.
Together, they will help extend the reach of mental health services and support to individuals in need, regardless of their location, thus fostering equitable access to mental health care throughout India.
How does it work?
- The Tele MANAS helpline is easily accessible to the public through a toll-free number or shortcode. When someone calls, an interactive voice response system (IVRS) will guide them through the process.
- The caller will receive a timely auto-call back and be connected to a trained counselor.
- The counselor will assess the caller’s needs and provide appropriate care if within their capabilities. If specialized care is required, the caller will be transferred to a mental health specialist, who can offer audio and video-based options for support.
- For urgent in-person interventions or complex evaluations, the caller will be referred to the nearest in-person service or offered an audio-visual consultation through eSanjeevani. These services may be available at various health centers, ranging from Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) to advanced tertiary care centers as part of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP).
Aim and Objectives
The main objectives of the Tele MANAS program are to ensure that everyone in India has access to high-quality mental health care that is affordable and available 24/7. This program is part of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and will be implemented in all Indian States and Union Territories.
- The goal is to expand the reach of mental health services to every corner of the country, allowing anyone in need to receive support at any time.
- Each State and UT will have a dedicated 24/7 tele-mental health facility to cater to the mental health needs of the population.
- The program will offer comprehensive mental health services, including counseling and medical interventions, through video consultations with mental health specialists. It will also provide e-prescriptions, follow-up services, and linkages to in-person services for those who require them.
- The Tele MANAS program aims to extend its services to vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations, ensuring that mental health care is accessible to all segments of society.
- By creating a strong and accessible mental health-service network, the program seeks to improve mental health outcomes for all individuals in India.
India faces a significant mental health burden, with mental disorders affecting a substantial portion of the population.
- In 2019, mental disorders were a leading cause of disability, and self-harm and violence were among the top causes of death. Suicide rates have also increased significantly in the past few decades.
- To address this issue, the Government of India has implemented various mental health initiatives.
- The National Mental Health Policy aims to provide universal access to mental health care, and the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 recognizes mental health as a statutory right.
- The National Mental Health Programme was launched in 1982 to establish mental health care infrastructure in the community.
- Despite these efforts, there remains a significant treatment gap for mental disorders, with many individuals in need of intervention not receiving the necessary assistance.
- Recent studies have highlighted the prevalence of mental health issues among the adult population.
With around 18% of the global population, India’s efforts to address mental health challenges are crucial in combating the impact of mental disorders and improving the well-being of its citizens. The government’s commitment to mental health care and access to primary healthcare services is a step towards providing much-needed support to those in need.
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What is Tele MANAS?
How can I access Tele MANAS services?
What are the benefits of using Tele MANAS?
It is a free service.
It is available 24/7.
It is accessible to people in remote or underserved areas.
It offers a wide range of mental health services.
It is confidential.