Government launches 24×7 tele-mental health service

The Union Health Ministry has launched a 24×7 tele-mental health service called Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. The service will start with 20 states and UTs and will subsequently be expanded to the entire country.

Tele-MANAS aims to increase access to mental healthcare across the country, including the hard-to-reach areas. The country-wide network will provide counselling, consultation with a specialist, and e-prescriptions.

The service can be accessed by calling the helpline number 14416 and 1-800-91-4416. Callers will first reach an IVRS and then be transferred to a trained counsellor in their areas. If needed, they will be connected online to mental health specialists such as clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, a psychiatric nurse, or a psychiatrist.

In case the caller needs in-person services, they will be referred to a health and wellness centre or primary health centre, or a tertiary care centre.

The nodal centre for Tele MANAS, which will be the digital arm of the National Mental Health Programme, will be National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) with technological support from IIT-Bombay. There will be five regional coordination centres and 23 mentoring institutes such as various AIIMS, PGIMER, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences-Delhi.

The programme was first announced in 2022-23 Budget while acknowledging the mental health crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.

“PM @NarendraModi Ji’s Govt is committed to enhancing access to quality mental healthcare services across the country & ensuring the mental well-being of the people,” Mandaviya stated in another tweet.

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