Covid-Related Anxiety: Mental Health Helpline Of Mpower Receives Over 72,000 Calls Since Its Launch

The BMC-Mpower 1on1’, 24×7 mental health helpline (1800120820050), launched by Mpower in association with the Government of Maharashtra and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), today announced that they have received over 72,000 calls since its launch in April 2020.

Mpower, a pioneer in Indian mental healthcare, also announced the launch of ‘#LetsChat1on1’ a Mental Health chat service as an extension to its #LetsTalk1on1 helpline service. It can be accessed via the link https://mpowerminds.com/chat-with-us

As India’s mental health crisis worsens, insights from the helpline breakdown the extent of the problems that exist, particularly post the outbreak of COVID-19.  Among the key mental health problems faced by Indians, the Mpower helpline received 25% calls from those who were experiencing anxiety & stress, primarily related to career, workplace issues, fear of contracting COVID-19, health issues, and exam stress. 10% of the calls were about depression, low mood, feelings of sadness, and hopelessness. 8% of the calls were relationship-based – talking about concerns with partners or family members. People from all walks of life from farmers, teachers, corporate employees, to students dialed in for help from Mpower’s trained and experienced mental health counsellors.

The helpline had a higher number of male callers (70%) compared to female callers (30%) breaking the stereotype that men don’t express themselves as freely as women. While the overall range of callers was between 18-85 years, Mpower’s helpline revealed that millennials were the most impacted by mental health issues, as the most callers were between 26-40 years (53%) followed by 18 to 25 years (28%) with the lowest being above 55 years (5%). Within Maharashtra, the helpline received large numbers of calls from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik and Solapur. Although the helpline was initially launched to address mental health concerns within the state of Maharashtra, it also recorded calls from other cities in the country, including Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Bengaluru.

Shedding light on the state of mental health in the country, Mpower’s helpline data revealed that during the first COVID-19 wave, when cases peaked, so did the number of calls, with April & May 2020 (40%) clocking in the highest calls. The helpline has been receiving maximum calls between 11 am and 7 pm, which also means if one calls early in the morning or at night, one is likely to connect easily to one of the mental health counsellors for sound advice.

In times like this when people are forced to stay home, they may not always find the private time and space to attend a face-to-face/online therapy or call any helpline.  To address this gap and to make mental health services even more accessible, Mpower launched ‘#LetsChat1on1’, a mental health chat service via its website https://mpowerminds.com This free service, which is handled by experienced psychologists available 24 x 7 for immediate assistance, can be availed by anyone above 18 years of age.

Commenting on the response to the helpline and launch of #LetsChat1on1, Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, Mpower, said, “Mental health has always been a matter of grave concern in India, but it is only during the last year, that the crisis was really highlighted and people opened about their struggles. Through the BMC-Mpower 1-1 helpline, we have given Indians a listening ear, and a platform to unleash their feelings which were bottled up. Picking up from the key findings over the last year, the goal is to use this to strengthen our resolve towards making mental healthcare more accessible across the country, and to ensure that each and every citizen can seek the help that he/she needs. We are happy that around 72,000 people have reached out to our #LetsTalk1on1 helpline to open up about their feelings. We urge more and more people to access and avail this as well as our new ‘#LetsChat1on1’chat service, especially during the tough days which we are battling with.”

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