A mother-daughter entrepreneur duo has come up with a unique solution for distressed people during the pandemic in the city of Kolkata. Caring Minds, a subsidiary of Patton Group of companies, based in Kolkata, has opened their toll-free number where adults and children who are depressed after losing their kin, or affected mentally amid the pandemic and shutdown, could seek counselling.
Anyone can call seven days a week, 9am – 9pm, and speak with a mental health expert.
“With the new normal constantly evolving and bringing with it death, devastation, and grief wherever one looks, it has become a toxic situation that is bound to take a toll on our mental health too. Living in a constant state of worry for over a year under circumstances that are less than ideal affects one and all - all age groups, all genders, all classes,” said Minu Budhia, founder director of Caring Minds.
Speaking to THE WEEK, Budhia, herself a leading psychotherapist, said she and her daughter, Preeyam, head of new initiative at Caring Minds, have decided to address the dreadful situation.
What kind of advice would be given to people through this number?
In the present times, all age groups are going through constant stress and anxiety, 24x7. Presently people are overwhelmed emotionally with the negativity of the new normal. This unending feeling of being disturbed, distressed, depressed is demoralising people and creating a toxic situation in their minds. This is then negatively affecting their mental health. Our helpline is an endeavour to alleviate this tension and to help men, women, seniors, and children to cope with hope and come out of this daily negativity.
Please specify whether only adults would get or children would be equally benefited.
Our helpline is for one and all. There is no age bar for mental healthcare and thereby we are open to receiving calls from any age group across the country. Sitting at home, being stuck studying online, bereft of direct contact with friends, many children and teens have lost their emotional support system. We are here to provide that support in their time of need. No child should feel lost, lonely, or scared in these difficult days – we are here to be a friendly voice of support.
How many experts have Caring Minds roped in? What are their specialities?
We have a pool of trained mental health experts who are there to counsel and provide emotional support and psychological first aid to all callers. It is similar to putting a band-aid on a small cut. Deep wounds need a different treatment plan.
How would the assistance be provided?
As a helpline like this is the first step for many to getting the help they need, our counsellors provide help that is psychological. Psychometric testing and psychiatric intervention are secondary steps requiring diagnosis and treatment and that is only possible via planned clinical sessions. If our counsellors realise that someone is in need of urgent or more in-depth help, they are referred to other treatment options.
Was this a result of the pandemic situation, or did you plan on setting up such a helpline earlier?
For over a year everything in our lives, both negative and positive, has been about the pandemic. It has permeated our personal, social, and professional lives, become a part of our very existence, and we are aware of it every waking moment. We had been thinking about a helpline for quite a while, but given that emotional support and mental healthcare is the need of the hour, our team worked round the clock to make this launch possible. We wanted to help our community feel emotionally safe in these distressing times.
Caring Minds mental health toll-free number is 1800-891-3021