World Mental Health Day | One year of Tele-MANAS: The wins, the concerns

by Aditya Kumar

with various stakeholders and are working towards addressing these issues in a comprehensive manner. This includes collaborating with NGOs and civil society organizations that specialize in addressing social inequalities and discrimination.”

Data privacy concerns and reaching marginalized communities
As with any digital initiative, data privacy and security are crucial considerations. Tele-MANAS operates under strict privacy guidelines and ensures that all data is protected and confidential. The helpline also complies with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Bill, which is aimed at safeguarding individuals’ personal data.

However, there are challenges in reaching marginalized communities and those living on the other side of the digital divide. In rural areas, where access to smartphones and the internet is limited, awareness about the helpline and its services may be lacking. Efforts are being made to bridge this gap through community outreach programs and collaborations with local organizations to spread awareness about the helpline and its benefits.

Scaling awareness levels
While the number of calls received by Tele-MANAS has been increasing steadily, there is still a need to scale up awareness levels. Many people may not be aware of the helpline or may hesitate to seek help due to social stigma surrounding mental health issues. Awareness campaigns are being conducted through various media channels, including television, radio, and social media, to educate the public about the importance of mental health and the availability of Tele-MANAS as a resource.

The future of Tele-MANAS
Tele-MANAS has made significant progress in its mission to provide emergency mental health support to those in need. However, there is still much work to be done. The helpline needs to address personnel issues by recruiting and training more mental health professionals to meet the growing demand for services. It also needs to continue its efforts to reach marginalized communities and ensure that no one is left behind in accessing mental healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and the need for accessible and affordable mental healthcare services. Tele-MANAS is playing a critical role in addressing the mental health crisis in India and is a positive step towards building a comprehensive digital mental health network across the country. With continued support and investment, Tele-MANAS has the potential to transform the mental healthcare landscape in India and provide much-needed support to those who need it the most.

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