The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Government to consider the necessity of opening some counselling centres, to deal with mental problems including depressions on an emergent basis in few districts as early as possible taking note of the prevalent situation in Delhi due to COVID-19.
The Delhi HC has passed these directions while hearing a PIL seeking counselling centres for dealing depression, mental problems.
The Petitioner Adv Sunil Kumar, who is a practising advocate appearing in person, had submitted that as the prevalent pandemic condition is leading to various mental health problems like depression, anxiety, stress and rise in suicide cases, an advocate has filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking setting up of counselling centres at the district level in Delhi to the people facing psychological issues and to launch a toll-free number round the clock to solve such issues.
A bench of Chief Justice of Delhi DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan while disposing of the petition stated that " having heard the petitioner in person and looking to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation in Delhi, we are of the considered view that counselling to deal with psychological issues is the utmost requirement of the residents of Delhi in the present scenario".
"....In the meantime, taking note of the prevalent situation in Delhi, we are of the considered view that Delhi Government may consider the necessity of opening at least some counselling centres on an emergent basis in few districts as early as possible and practicable, along with the arrangement of a toll-free number round the clock to provide counselling in Delhi. Necessary publicity in this regard should also be given in the print and electronic media so that the public at large may avail the benefits of counselling centres" Bench Observed.
The advocate Kumar in his plea had sought the Union Government declared national wide lockdown from March 24 due to spread of Covid-19 in India to break the chain of the Corona Virus.
"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.
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, plea stated.
The plea also mentioned 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.
( With inputs from ANI )