National: AXA France Vie India Reinsurance Branch’s free 24X7 Mental Health Helpline, in partnership with Manas Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO, registered over 1000 calls for mental healthcare support, since its launch. The top challenges encountered by the callers were pertaining to job losses, feeling of inferiority and loss of confidence, relationship and marital issues, examination stress, and compulsive behaviour, among others.
While the number of female callers was somewhat higher than male callers, there was also a considerable difference in the number of callers from different age brackets. The maximum number of calls were recorded from the 21-30 years age bracket (30 per cent), followed closely by the 31-35 years age bracket (22 per cent) and the 36-50 years age bracket (17 per cent). Of the calls answered by the helpline over the past six months, the majority of calls were from Delhi NCR (57 per cent), followed by Mumbai, Bihar & Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Talking about the observation and challenges faced in this project, Ankur Nijhawan, CEO of AXA France Vie India Reinsurance Branch, commented, “At AXA France Vie India Reinsurance Branch, we are committed to spreading awareness around mental health, disbanding the associated stigmas and seeking to help people who are affected. Our helpline provides a safe and non-judgmental platform for the callers who can share their feelings and get adequate support. Since the launch of the helpline, we witnessed that the majority of our callers took multiple sessions with us. However, we feel that the number of calls that we received showcases the need for driving awareness about this plaguing issue and more so, destigmatising mental health problems in our country that exist presently.The objective of the initiative was to create awareness around mental health aligned with the Government of India’s initiative. Free and easy access to psychologists on helplines like ours, has been a stepping stone to removing the barriers that prevent people from seeking help.”
National Crime Report Bureau data, at its best, inaccurate and underreported, points to the highest rate of suicides ever for 2021, an increase of 7.2 per cent over the previous year. Even the Lancet Commission Report on Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health report has recommended that all countries should take action to decriminalise suicide, therefore reducing the stigma around suicide and leading to fewer occurrences.
Talking about the mental health issues faced by the callers, Monica Kumar, Managing Trustee & Clinical Psychologist with Manas Foundation said, “The helpline has been able to make mental health services accessible for everyone across India, specifically those people who want to reach out for support. Through this effort, we hope to normalise conversations around mental health along with normalising people availing services for mental health care. During the course of our operating this helpline, we have observed people reaching out for mental health support for a variety of mental health concerns such as re-adjusting to their routines post covid 19, domestic and interpersonal issues, inability to manage stress, maintaining a work-life balance and even common mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.”
According to The Lancet Commission Report on Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health launched on World Mental Health Day this year, radical action is needed to end stigma and discrimination against people with mental health conditions and their families globally.
The helpline not only functions as a crisis response helpline but as a holistic system of mental healthcare providing long-term mental health support via prompt referrals to other human resource personnel as and when required. The 24X7 PAN India Helpline has been providing mental health support and consultations from counsellors and psychologists. Anybody can call on ‘080 6909 6909’ at any time and avail of the benefits of this helpline, free of cost.
AXA in India aims to raise awareness and educate the masses about mental health. AXA has been working towards catering to mental health issues globally and in India. AXA has also globally launched several AI-driven solutions to support their users dealing with mental health issues. The company has a full-sized health partner in the form of an AI that allows access to resources and advice on health-related issues, including mental health. This allows the users to communicate freely about their situation.
Similarly, Manas Foundation has adopted a psycho-social model that aims to not only normalize the issue of mental health but also provide an open platform for people to talk candidly about it.