CHENNAI: The mental health helplines in the State operate 24-7 and private organisations running such helplines put in a lot of time for their promotions. And, most specially highlight that these helplines are available on all days.
However, when a 25-year-old with a history of depression reached out to a private helpline on Republic Day, she was told that no counsellors were available to talk to her because it was a public holiday.
While the choice of working on a public holiday is entirely at the discretion of a private company, even if it’s providing an emergency service, the promotions and ads have to come with a caveat that ‘Conditions Apply’. People do not call these helplines for fun. It wouldn’t behove a service provider not to be cognizant of that.
This is not an obligation but more along the lines of ethics while promising to run a service 24-7 on all days. With growing awareness on mental illness, more people are willing to reach out to helplines in the fervent hope that it’d give them some clarity.
If the promotional agenda pushes the helpline on the top of the list of ‘mental health helplines in Chennai’ on Google and assures that experts are available for support on all days, the public is going to believe that and reach out. It’d be appreciated if exceptions are highlighted clearly on the pages of these helplines.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that the government-run helplines work on all days and also provide support 24-7.
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