PIL in HC seeking counselling centres for dealing depression, mental problems

By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha

New Delhi [India], June 18 (ANI): As the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to various mental health problems like depression, anxiety, stress, and rise in suicide cases, an advocate has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Delhi High Court seeking setting up of counselling centres at the district level in Delhi for the people facing psychological issues and to launch a toll-free number round the clock to solve such issues.

The PIL was filed by an advocate Sunil Kumar, which is scheduled to be heard on June 19.

The advocate has demanded setting up of counselling centres at the district level in Delhi to provide counselling to the people who are facing psychological issues like depression, anxiety etc due to the lockdown and extraordinary situation due to COVID-19 and also sought directions to the respondents including Delhi Government to take immediate steps in setting up of counselling centres at District level so that people are not forced to take an extreme step like suicide etc.

Advocate Kumar in his plea said that the Union Government declared nationwide lockdown from March 24 due to spread of COVID-19 in India to break the chain of the coronavirus.

"Since this type of lockdown has taken place in India first time, the people of India were not prepared to face this type of extra-ordinary situation wherein people were not allowed to go out of their dwelling places which resulted into financial hardships to the labourers, housewives, small and medium business class, shopkeepers, students, & professional etc. That due to bad effects of lockdown, these people are facing a lot of psychological issues which are resulting in a quarrel and verbal fights and the suicide in aggravating form," the petition said.

The Delhi government has been spending a lot of money on advertisements in newspapers and television channels to give information about their preparation to curb the Covid-19 except psychological aspect.

Mentioning that the central government through National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore launched a toll-free helpline number - 08046110007 for people who may face any mental health issue due to the ongoing countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, the petitioner said that it is not sufficient to talk the situation as himself tried this helpline number once at night but could not get any response and finally call got disconnected.

Raising the issues like students are sitting at home, unemployed youth are feeling frustrated and due to fear of Covid-19 infections, people are unable to lead normal lives.

Therefore, the petitioner Sunil Kumar has sought to issue a direction to respondents to create counselling centres at the district level and to put the material of counselling on the website of Delhi Government along with details of counselling centres.

The petitioner, Sunil Kumar also direction to authorities concerned to launch a toll-free number round the clock to provide counselling in Delhi. The petition also sought to advertise in newspapers as well as on television in Delhi by preparing the material of counselling to deal with psychological issues. (ANI)