An organization based out of Birbhum in West Bengal has undertaken a mission to offer counselling to the local tribal people of the area in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Anandadhara “Anandadhara” Swadhar Greh, run by Jayaprakash Institute of Social Change, is helping them overcome any mental health issues that might have resulted due to Covid-19 infection.
The organisation, which operates in the Purandarpur area of Siuri in Birbhum, has undertaken this initiative to try and reverse any psychological damage that may be suffered by the poor tribal people who inhabit the area. Many have suffered greatly due to the pandemic and the lockdown, which led to the loss of livelihood.
People who used to work as daily wagers or part-time shop assistants were particularly affected because they couldn’t move around with the lockdown restrictions.. Also, ever since the lockdown was imposed, there was an influx of migrant workers who returned in droves to their native villages, thereby making the situation worse.
This is resulting in an overload of anxiety and panic attacks among people who are scared of losing their daily bread. City dwellers have the services of psychiatrists at their disposal, but their availability is scant in remote villages. Therefore, Anandadhara is working for these villagers.
Volunteers from the group are reaching out to people and handing out pamphlets with the numbers of psychologists and counselors written on them. Certain time slots are provided for people to call on those numbers and discuss their mental health issues. Once the call is placed, the counselor would reach the patient’s home.
The response is tremendous, according to the Super of Anandadhara Ayesha Sultan, who said that the undertaking was mainly meant to uplift the spirit of people from villages. A lot of people have already undergone counseling and they are now able to carry on with their lives in a more hopeful and confident manner, she added.