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No study yet on suicides tied to pandemic, government informs Lok Sabha

Centre lists steps taken to give psychosocial support to those hit by COVID-19.

The Central government has taken several initiatives to provide psychosocial support to people, given that COVID-19 may have an impact on their mental health, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) written reply in the Lok Sabha.

The Ministry said no study to assess the impact of the pandemic on suicides had been conducted, but the government had taken a series of measures.

24/7 helpline

They include the setting up of a 24/7 helpline to provide psychosocial support to different target groups: children, adults, the elderly, women and healthcare workers; and advisories on management of mental health issues, catering to different segments of society and creating awareness.

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, has also issued detailed guidelines. The government has also facilitated capacity building of health workers by NIMHANS in providing psychosocial support.

At the primary healthcare level also, the government is taking steps to strengthen mental healthcare services. The services have been added in the package under Ayushman Bharat.

The reply was in response to the questions from various members .

The National Crime Records Bureau reported an increase in suicide cases during 2019 (1,39,123) compared to 2018 (1,34,516).

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