SUKOON – Mental Health Helpline Provides Relief for People Suffering from Drug-Induced Mental Disorders, Depression

Toll-free number buzzing with calls, recovered youth inspire others

Srinagar: The initiative to provide online counseling for people suffering from anxiety disorders to severe depression including addiction indulgence is gaining momentum as hundreds of people are benefiting from this new initiative.

Earlier in September, under the leadership and insight of Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K Pole SUKOON – a mental health helpline was launched to provide online counseling to those in need.

This initiative allows callers to recover from mental health issues. As people became more familiar with SUKOON, this helpline received hundreds of calls during the month of September from people suffering from anxiety and stress seeking help.

At SUKOON, specialist psychologists and associate counselors provide problem-oriented counseling, psychological therapy and desired information to callers.

Around 300 calls were received at the helpline and callers discussing issues of anxiety, depression, addiction etc. with advisers.

Callers from a cross-section of society, including young people, teenagers, parents, teachers, the elderly and families, have benefited from SUKOON.

The Kashmir Divisional Commissioner has appealed to all who are struggling with drug addiction, anxiety or any other mental issue to utilize the service of ‘SUKOON’ for a better and calm life.

Several unique features of the helpline include caller ID privacy, interactive voice response (IVR) system, and speech-activated IVR system to handle the request.

Phone connectivity benefits everyone who cannot access face-to-face counseling for reasons such as unavailability, stigma, financial hardship, etc. and client confidentiality.

Among the many people who have recovered after following SUKOON’s advice is a young boy, Amir, 21 (name changed).

While sharing his experience, he said the helpline turned out to be a life-changing experience.

He said that while scrolling through the news feed on social media, he came across some news about SUKOON.

“After going through the content and pausing for a few minutes, I reluctantly called the toll-free number 1800-180-7202,” Amir said.

“Soon I received a call from SUKOON and had a brief chat with the counselor on the other end,” he added.

He felt very comfortable after the first conversation with a little relief and intended to call back.

After a few days, he decided to call back. He was contacted again by SUKOON and this time he spoke without any fear and had enough time to talk to the counselor.

The conversation dispelled all my apprehensions and returned rejuvenated hope to my thoughts, Amir said with a satisfied face.

He said he started to feel good, quit smoking and was getting off antidepressants.

He said people, including young people, should be provided with the same facilities so that lifelong issues affecting mental health are minimized.

A SUKOON official, while giving details, informed that more than 300 calls had been received by the hotline so far, including 264 men and more than 36 women.

He added that around 80% of callers said they suffered from anxiety and depression, while around 20% said they had been involved with drugs and wanted to get out of the threat.

In addition, he said that 35 psychologists and specialist counselors associated with “SUKOON” provide problem-oriented counseling, psychological therapy and desired information to callers.

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