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BMC's Helpline Receives Maximum Calls From Men Related To Job Security, Mental Health

The ongoing pandemic and the unprecedented lockdown are taking a huge toll on out mental health.

BMC's Mental Health Helpline received calls on a variety of issues including job insecurity, work stress, anxiety, depression, fear of contracting Covid, and careers during the pandemic. Surprisingly, 70 per cent of the callers were men.

Do you agree that men are unable to express themselves as freely as women? Indian men have broken this stereotype during the pandemic. Compared to women, more men have called the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)'s mental health helpline to unleash their bottled-up feelings during the Covid-19 pandemic. The "BMC-Mpower1on1", a 24X7 helpline, which was launched in April 2020, has so far clocked over 72,000 calls, and surprisingly 70 per cent of the callers are men. Most calls from men were related to job security and health, Mpower Chairperson Neerja Birla revealed on Wednesday.

The BMC and Mpower 1 on 1, along with the Government of Maharashtra started a toll-free 24*7 helpline (1800-120-820-050) to help individuals deal with the mental health concerns arising out of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The helpline received calls on a variety of issues including job insecurity, work stress, anxiety, depression, fear of contracting Covid, and careers. Around 25 per cent of the calls were related to anxiety and stress-related to jobs, careers, getting infected by coronavirus, and examinations. While another 10 per cent of the calls were from those experiencing depression, low moods, bouts of sadness and hopelessness, some callers (8 per cent) were worried about their relationship with family members or life-partners.

More than 50 per cent of the callers belonged to the 26-40 age group, while 28 per cent were youngsters in 18-25 age group and those bordering the senior category above 55 years accounted for 5 per cent. People from from all walks of life including corporate employees, farmers, teachers and students, called the helpline seeking assistance from Mpower's professional mental health counsellors. Not just people from Maharashtra called the helpline, but many callers were also from Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Lucknow.

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Mental health issues in India

According to Mpower Chairperson Neerja Birla, mental health has always been a grave concern in India, but the crisis drew attention only during the pandemic and more people started opening up about their struggles. In the first Covid wave last year, the number of callers peaked to 40 percent during the April-May (2020), as shown by the Mpower's data.

Speaking to TheHealthsite, Dr Anuneet Sabharwal, Founder and Director at the Happy Tree, said that most people in India suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, stress, depression, denial and anger. Talking about where the country stands when it comes to mental health, Dr Sabharwal says, "India is the largest suicide place with 2.6 lakh cases of suicide. Also, 50 per cent of mental health problems start by the age of 15, and 75 per cent are developed by the age of 24. Almost 1 in 4 people suffer from some behavioural or emotional issues."

The ongoing pandemic and the unprecedented lockdown are taking a huge toll on out mental health. Several studies have warned of an impending risk of a major global mental health crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak. A survey conducted by GOQii, a smart-tech-enabled preventive healthcare platform, revealed that stress levels among people have increased due to the pandemic, with 43% Indians suffering from depression. Another survey conducted by the NGO 'Population Foundation of India' indicated that young women are at higher risk of developing mental health problems during the pandemic. A variety of reasons were associated with the higher stress level in young women. These include extra workload at home, family pressure, discontinuation of education, and lack of access to sanitary napkins.

With inputs from IANS

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