Helpline for healthcare staff dealing with psychological well being points launched

A number of associations of doctors and psychiatrists from around the world have teamed up to set up a dedicated hotline for medical staff to deal with stress, depression and other psychological issues they face during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an official statement released on Saturday, the Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), a key partner behind the initiative, said the move was particularly important as the second wave of the pandemic hit doctors and nurses in the country and others in the country the industry on a grand scale.

This has created significant challenges as medical, nursing and allied health care providers experience stress, depression and suffering in the performance of their duties to care for patients, the GAPIO said in the statement.

Ensuring the mental well-being of health workers is paramount, and GAPIO and the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS), along with other collaborators, have set up a hotline for HCWs with mental health problems to help them manage these issues, said

Other partners are the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), the Canada India Network Society (CINS) and the British Indian Psychiatric Association (BIPA).

When announcing the launch, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman of the Apollo Hospitals Group and Founding President of GAPIO: “This is a very challenging and difficult time. An Exponential Rise in Cases of Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress, and Depression in Healthcare With the support of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and other mental health professionals, the mental health needs of HCWs need to be addressed ”.

It is hoped the helpline will alleviate the stress and challenges HCWs are facing in this unprecedented crisis, he said.

Dr. Anupam Sibal, President of GAPIO, said: “Peer support sessions will be available to provide assistance. There will also be the ability to organize individual sessions and referrals as needed”.

In May, when the second wave peaked, doctors and nurses had a “ward nightmare” when their patients died in large numbers.

Longer shifts of duty, each day with the death of patients or family members pleading to save their lives, doctors on the Covid service in Delhi, then opened up about their experiences, saying they were in the worst of the second wave of the crisis unimaginable psychological torment underwent pandemic.

From government hospitals to private facilities, the disastrous second wave in Delhi had not only stretched the health infrastructure to its limits, but also affected the physical and mental well-being of doctors and other health care workers.

“The United States has been through a similar situation to India. It has been difficult for American doctors and other HCWs exposed to extreme work pressures, stress and anxiety. Our insights from the American experience will help support this hotline,” said Dr Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President, AAPI.

Dr. Gautam Saha, President of IPS, assured that psychiatrists from India will do everything possible to bring their mental health back to the level it was before the Covid-19 pandemic was declared. He added that this mental hotline will provide free online services to medical and related health workers.

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