afaqs! news bureau

"52% of the callers are 'anxious' about the post-lockdown": Mpower

As lockdown ends, Mpower in partnership with the BMC launch a campaign to encourage people to seek help regarding their anxiety about the world post-lockdown.

We stayed inside our homes, cleaned everything thoroughly before eating it (not that we didn't before), always wore marks whenever we stepped out, and maintained social distancing – it was hard and yet, we did it.

Now, it's time to step out. Cities are opening themselves one after the other and for many of us, it's like stepping outside after a long hibernation period. We didn't like it but we had to go through it.

While many are excited to go out, there's an equal if not more amount of people anxious about stepping outside. The mental aspect of the lockdown has been well documented from governments and private organisations to the WHO. But, stressed mental health about stepping out? No so much until now.

BMC-Mpower 1on1 is a 24x7 helpline by Mpower (chain of mental health counselling centres) in an exclusive partnership with the Government of Maharashtra and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

It says in the two months since it went live (April), it has received around 45,000 calls. And with the governments announcing the Unlock phase, 52% of the callers are 'anxious' about the post-lockdown. It says in a press release, "Majority of the concerns were related to safety, anxiousness about stepping out of their homes, returning to work, commute, work-life balance, and their family and friends."

To reassure citizens that the helpline is available 24x7, Mpower has launched a campaign called #MpowerYourTomorrow. The campaign aims to spread the message that it is ok to be anxious, but it is not ok to shy away from reaching out and seeking help in addressing one’s concerns.

Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, Mpower, said, “BMC-Mpower has been able to address many mental health concerns during the government-mandated lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, now that the lockdown is likely to be lifted in many parts of India, it is natural to feel anxious about what lies ahead. In the past two weeks, we have witnessed callers expressing concerns related to anxiety and uncertainty about what could be the new normal. With #MpowerYourTomorrow, we aim to provide citizens access to quality mental healthcare expertise to support them. We are delighted that around 45,000 people have reached out to us to open up about their feelings. We urge more and more people to access and avail this service, especially in the coming days.”