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SUKOON- Mental Health Helpline

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Toll free number abuzz with calls, recovered youth inspire others: Officials

SRINAGAR: The initiative of providing online counseling to people suffering from anxiety disorders to severe depression including indulgence in substance abuse is gaining impetus as hundreds of people are being benefited from this novel initiative, officials said.
Earlier during the month of September, under the guidance and insight of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole SUKOON – a Mental health helpline was launched for providing online counseling to people in need.
This initiative enables callers to recover from mental health challenges. As people became familiar with the SUKOON, this helpline received hundreds of calls in the month of September from people experiencing anxiety and stress seeking help, they added.
At SUKOON, specialist Psychologists and Counsellors associated are providing problem focussed counselling, psychological therapy and desired information to the callers.
Pertinently, around 300 calls have been received at the helpline and callers discussing the issues of anxiety, depression, addiction etc with the counselors.
Callers from a cross section of society including youth, teenagers, parents, teachers, elderly and families benefited from the SUKOON.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir appealed to all those who are struggling with substance abuse, anxiety or any other mental issue to utilize the service of “SUKOON” for a better and calm life.
Several unique feature of the helpline include privacy of the caller’s identity, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and Speech enabled IVR system to process the request.
The telephonic connectivity benefits all those who cannot access face-to-face counselling for reasons like unavailability, stigma, financial difficulties etc. and client confidentiality.
Among many people who recovered after going through SUKOON counseling is a young boy, Amir, 21 (name changed).
While sharing his experience, he said that the helpline has turned out to be a life changing experience.
He said that while scrolling newsfeed on social media he came across a news about SUKOON.
“After going through the contents and a pause of a few minutes, I reluctantly called the toll free no. 1800-180-7202” Amir said.
“Soon, I got a call from SUKOON and had a brief conversation with the counsellor on the other end”, he added.
He felt very comfortable after the first conversation with a bit relieved and intended to call again.
After a few days, he made up his mind to call again. He was contacted back by SUKOON and this time he spoke without any fear and got enough time to speak to the counsellor.
The conversation had all my apprehensions diffused and returned rejuvenated hope inside my thoughts, Amir said with a content face.
He said that he started feeling good , quitting smoking and retreating from anti- depressants.
He stated that people including youth should avail the same facility so that issues of life affecting mental health get minimised.
An official at SUKOON while giving details informed that over 300 calls were received by the helpline so far, including 264 male callers and over 36 female callers.
He added that around 80% callers reported they are struggling with anxiety and depression while around 20% reported they got involved in drugs and want to come out of the menace.
Moreover, he said that 35 specialist Psychologists & Counsellors associated with “SUKOON” are providing problem focussed counselling, psychological therapy and desired information to the callers.



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