EHS-COVID (398) COVID-19 and mental health services (8)

11 June, 2021

Dear HIFA members,

- Government of India issued guidelines for ‘Mental Health in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic’.

It describes in detail about the common mental health presentations during the pandemic, mental health issues in COVID-19 patients, children, adolescents, adults, older adults, pregnant and post-partum women, disabled persons, frontline workers, domestic violence and substance abuse cases.

- Government of India issued guidelines for ‘Managing mental health illness in hospital settings during COVID-19’

- Many mental health helpline numbers were issued to prevent suicides, depression and stress prevention.

- Mind relaxation online sessions were organized by different therapists.

- Online consultations were started by many organizations.

The biggest challenge is reach, how many are able to access these services?

Rural settings and hard to reach areas are still not able to become part of the system. Online consultations/ sessions are only available for those who have the power of technology.

I observed one positive side of COVID-19 and mental health that it had brought to the surface and discussed on the table about health priorities of mental well-being. Even the general public are losing the reluctance to talk about it. I see a change!

Best regards,

Sanchika Gupta

HIFA Global CR Coordinator

HIFA profile: Dr Sanchika Gupta is an Indian healthcare specialist with eight years of experience as both clinician and public health programmer. She explored wide breadth of public health realm viz. family planning/reproductive health, maternal, adolescent and child health during her association with national and international NGOs namely INCLEN, MAMTA, Jhpiego and Pathfinder International. She acquired technical expertise in advocacy, program management, research, monitoring and evaluation throughout her fieldwork in eight Indian states (Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh). She is the nominee of ‘120 under 40: the new generation of family planning leaders’ in 2019. In the recent years, she has been associated with HIFA through its Social Media Working Group and EHS-COVID19 project. In 2021, HIFA nominated her as Global Country Representative Coordinator. Currently, she is based in New Delhi, India and is available on email id or Twitter @sanchika_gupta.