New Delhi [India] May 13 (ANI/NewsVoir): AXA France Vie's India division joins hands with the New Delhi-based NGO - Manas Foundation, to launch a fully funded, completely free-of-cost Mental Health Helpline. AXA believes that in these unprecedented and uncertain times unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness and distress have emerged as a silent pandemic that has been brewing under the garb of the 'New Normal'.
The 24X7 PAN India Helpline will provide mental health support and consultations from counsellors and psychologists. Anybody can call on '080 6909 6909' at any time and avail the benefits of this helpline, free of cost.
Arun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture congratulated AXA France Vie - India and Manas Foundation for launching this helpline and said, "In the aftermath of COVID-19 there have been increasing incidents of depression and suicides. In such desperate times, this noble initiative by AXA France Vie - India to increase awareness about mental illness and provide support to individuals is commendable. I congratulate them for their efforts in launching of a free mental health helpline for masses across India."
Talking about the vision for the launch of the helpline, Ankur Nijhawan, CEO of AXA France Vie India Reinsurance Branch said, "Mental health is still ignored as an issue in India and we don't provide primary care to the individuals who are dealing with it. As part of our initiative to provide inclusive insurance and cover the gaps in the current health policies, we are launching mental health covers for group clients which we aim to offer to everyone in the coming years. We will also be providing re-insurance capacity to the insurance companies to enable them to provide this cover to the larger public. At AXA France Vie India branch, we take mental wellness seriously and have facilitated the required support to our employees, shall they need it. Under our social responsibility we are proud to have collaborated with Manas Foundation for the launch of our free 24x7 mental health helpline that aims to provide the required support to people dealing with mental health issues."
The helpline not only functions as a crisis response helpline but as a holistic system of mental healthcare providing long-term mental health support via prompt referrals to other human resource personnel as and when required.
AXA has been working towards normalizing mental health globally and in India, viz this CSR initiative AXA India aims to raise awareness and educate the masses about mental health.
Commenting on the initiative Gordon Watson, CEO of AXA Asia and Africa, said, "We are privileged to collaborate with Manas Foundation to launch this free, 24x7 Pan-India helpline. Through this initiative, we aim to help bridge the major gap in care for people suffering with poor mental health, which is integral to ensure holistic wellbeing. Our recent AXA Mind Health Study found that on average, 43 per cent of people surveyed across 11 markets in Europe and Asia are either languishing or struggling, indicating the absence of positive well-being or symptoms of psychosocial impairment. By expanding support for those in need, we strive to raise awareness of this invisible challenge among the broader public and lift the veil of stigma."
AXA has also globally launched several AI-driven solutions to support their users dealing with mental health issues. The company has a full-fledged health partner in the form of an AI that allows access to resources and advice on health-related issues, including mental health. This allows the users to communicate freely about their situation.
Similarly, Manas Foundation has adopted a phycho-social model that aims to not only normalize the issue of mental health but also provide an open platform for the people to talk freely about it.
Speaking on the launch of the helpline, Monica Kumar, Psychologist and Founding Trustee of Manas Foundation said, "The last two years of the pandemic have inflicted an atmosphere of fear around us. And this fear is the genesis of depression. Our research shows that now more than ever, people have complaints about anxiety and depression. This has led to a steep rise in cases of domestic violence and student suicides, and has settled an air of stress and burnout around us. Considering the situation on the ground we are pleased to collaborate with AXA France India and start the free 24x7 Pan India helpline in tandem with the Government's increased focus to improve the mental health space in India. At Manas Foundation, our aim is to create an inclusive community of individuals who are more empathetic towards the issue of mental health."
The event witnessed the participation of several medical practitioners, psychologists, volunteers, and people who have felt a real change in their lives after being associated with Manas Foundation.
Congratulating AXA India and Manas Foundation for the initiative, Shazia Ilmi, National Spokesperson of BJP said, "The issue of mental health is extremely relevant to the society now than ever. We all feel vulnerable to the unexpected situations in our lives and yet always try to hide what we go through. This leads to depression and since most of the times we are unable to share situation it builds up to incidents of suicides. The initiative of a free helpline by AXA India is a need in today's environment. I hope that more and more people connect with the initiative and raise awareness about mental health all across India."
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