More men are depressed than women in Mumbai and seek psychiatric help.
Hithguj, a mental health helpline launched by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), four months back, has received 3,000 calls till date from anxious citizens seeking recourse for psychiatric trouble.
The latest data by the BMC’s health department reveals that up to 64% of those who called the helpline were men.
“This is to say that approximately two out of three people that call the helpline for solutions are male. For up to five per cent it is very difficult for us to ascertain their gender as they choose not to disclose any personal details while seeking help for a range of mental health problems affecting them,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional commissioner (health), BMC.
While a majority who call complain of depression (33%) and anxiety (20%), another 20% complain of work-related stress. Other common complaints are related to insomnia, abnormal behaviour, addiction to drugs or alcohol and physical/sexual abuse.
Launched in May, the helpline has been getting 700 to 800 calls on an average a month. Thirteen per cent of all callers are referred to a hospital for severe disorders like chronic depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders amongst others.
Dr Shubhangi Parkar, professor, psychiatry department, KEM Hospital said, “The positive part of our helpline is that we are getting repeat calls from people suffering from depression. The patients who call back are the ones who were satisfied with the counselling they got. Fifteen per cent of the total calls are from follow-ups and operators have started maintaining a detailed log of the patients’ history.”
The helpline also has the option of taking an appointment if the caller needs special attention.
Psychiatry outpatient departments have been provided at KEM, Sion and Nair Hospitals.
While up to 50% of the callers are from the island city, 35% are from suburbs and adjoining satellite towns like Thane and Kalyan. “Close to 25% callers do not choose to disclose their location,” said Mhaiskar.