Delhi Medical Association to launch a dedicated mental health helpline for resident doctors

The DMA will collaborate with medical associations, psychiatrists and psychologists in Delhi to set up this helpline
Pic Credit: EdexLive
Pic Credit: EdexLive

The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) is working on establishing a mental health helpline for postgraduate resident doctors. 

This information was revealed by Dr Ashwini Dalmiya on X today, December 13. He also informed in his post that Dr Anuj Mittal, the Head of the Psychiatry Department at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay, would be coordinating the efforts. 

In the same post, he also tagged the official handles of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), along with FAIMA leaders Dr Rohan Krishnan and Dr Rishiraj Sinha, urging them to “prepare a roadmap” for the same. 

This tweet was met with enthusiasm from the latter two, both of whom welcomed the initiative. 

Speaking to EdexLive, Dr Dalmiya says that the initial idea was to set up a public mental health helpline. “We wanted to start a helpline for the public at large but, currently, lack the sufficient funds to do so,” he explains. 

However, an increase in the number of deaths by suicide of resident doctors in India prompted the Delhi Medical Association to introduce an exclusive helpline for medical workers. 

Dr Dalmiya says, “We realised that we could at least initiate a mental health helpline for our colleagues, given the amount of stress they undergo.”

Delving deeper into the planning and creation of the helpline, Dr Dalmiya shares that in addition to Dr Mittal, a team of 10 psychiatrists and a handful of psychologists would train doctors and other medical staff to act as first responders and handle distress calls from suicidal or depressed resident doctors. 

In addition, the Delhi Medical Association would also collaborate with other doctors’ associations, like FAIMA and the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) for the setting up and smooth functioning of the helpline. 

“We plan to sit down for a formal meeting with these associations and draw a roadmap towards setting up the helpline. In addition, we aim to visit hospitals in Delhi to understand the state of PG resident doctors working in them. We would speak to the supervisors of these residents and understand their behaviours,” Dr Dalmiya says, In addition, he adds that they would also find out if any resident doctor has a history of mental illness and is undergoing treatment for the same. 

“To do all this and build a dedicated team for the headline, we would need at least 10 days. The helpline will be launched once all these are in place,” Dr Dalmiya says. 

Yesterday, December 12, FAIMA also wrote to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, announcing that it is setting up a National Mental Health Task Force to “fight the rising problem of mental health disorders and the alarming number of suicide cases among medicos”.

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