Social support need of the hour, says Darjeeling counsellor

Gyanendra Rai, counsellor, Tata Institute of Social Science
Darjeeling: As the world passes through a difficult phase, it is a strong social system and support that will help us tide over the crisis, feels Gyanendra Rai, counsellor, Tata Institute of Social Science. Rai, a resident of Darjeeling, has come forward to help persons suffering from trauma and other mental problems in these difficult times. "The unnatural situation has taken a toll on mental health and well being. Many are suffering from trauma, panic attacks and depression," said Rai.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration had approached Rai and he readily agreed to help all those who need counselling, absolutely free of cost through teleconferencing. Anyone who needs advice on mental health can call him. Rai receives calls from 10 am to 2 pm, seven days a week. "On an average I get three phone calls daily. Each session takes one to one and a half hours. I get calls from all over the Hills including tea gardens and rural areas," added Rai.

"Social support and family support is the need of the hour. It is very much important to understand, educate and support each other during this untoward situation. Talking to family members regarding one's anxiety or supporting and educating family members helps to a great extent," stated Rai. As there is no coping mechanism of this surprise crisis situation, the defence mechanism gets activated which includes anger, pressing the panic button which includes panic buying and being over cautious.

"People become apprehensive or helpless in such situations as they do not know how to react. Many have become delusional. Many have had these complications since long but the symptoms have been aggravated since this untoward situation caused by the pandemic," he said. One has to avoid gathering too much information, including rumours from various unreliable sources. "Anxiousness is self-brewed through continuous and irrational questions and answers one might generate in the mind regarding the infection. If an individual is indulging in this vicious circle of question and answer, they should break out of it and answer the questions with rationality and verified information," suggests Rai. In case of panic attacks, there are many in the rural areas of the Hills who visit shamans and faith healers. "It is always advisable to seek proper medical help. A scientific approach is necessary to tackle such problems," he said.

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As the world passes through a difficult phase, it is a strong social system and support that will help us tide over the crisis, feels Gyanendra Rai, counsellor, Tata Institute of Social Science. Rai, a resident of Darjeeling, has come forward to help persons suffering from trauma and other mental problems in these difficult times

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