Coronavirus outbreak: Delhi child rights body's helpline gets nearly 19k calls in six days; over 35% were distress calls to procure ration, medicines

DCPCR's helpline for parents and children has received nearly 19,000 calls within six days, with a majority of them pertaining to procurement of ration and medicine during the lockdown period, according to data shared by the child rights body

Press Trust of India April 14, 2020 19:08:27 IST
Coronavirus outbreak: Delhi child rights body's helpline gets nearly 19k calls in six days; over 35% were distress calls to procure ration, medicines

DCPCR's helpline for parents and children has received nearly 19,000 calls within six days, with a majority of them pertaining to procurement of ration and medicine during the lockdown period, according to data shared by the child rights body.

The other major reason for distress were financial concern and uncertainty about the future.

Coronavirus outbreak Delhi child rights bodys helpline gets nearly 19k calls in six days over 35 were distress calls to procure ration medicines

Representational image. AP

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) had launched the helpline number 011-41182977 last week to help children and parents cope with anxiety during the period.

Within a week of its launch, the helpline had received 18,900 calls till Monday evening, according to data.

On Monday alone, the helpline received 7,900 calls. Buoyed by the response, there are plans to strengthen the helpline by roping in more counsellers.

Delhi Minister for Women and Child Development Rajendra Pal Gautam told PTI, "We are planning to rope in more experts. People are getting a platform to talk about their issues and we are addressing them. People have benefitted from them."

He said they will publicise about the demand for more counsellors who can talk to people.

DCPCR member Anurag Kundu welcomed the minister's suggestions and said on Tuesday alone, they have deputed 57 counsellers in separate shifts and 22 phone lines have been made operational.

"We are also working on building operational efficiency. We have taken due note of the minister''s instructions and we are working on it," he said.

According to data shared by the DCPCR, 32 percent of the calls pertained to procuring ration and medicine during the lockdown.

"The counsellors shared the link of the ration coupon website for those who do not have ration cards. In some cases, they shared the address of nearest PDS shop for people who had ration cards," he said.

The counsellors also help people in filling forms for e-passes for those who need to move for essential purpose such as medical need, etc.

Almost 25 percent of the calls pertained to  financial concerns and worries about uncertainty of the future, according to the data.

People are worried about jobs, uncertain when their salaries will be released and about finding new jobs, Kundu said.

Counsellors hear their concerns, allow them to vent and also suggest some activities to keep themselves productively engaged so as to curb their anxiety levels, he said.

The worries of children pertained to concerns about their academics and inability to attend school and almost 18 per cent of the calls were related to this.

The counsellors suggested learning activities to them in line with the education department efforts, and parents were counseled about how to engage with their children educationally and emotionally.

Counsellors also suggested the PCM technique -- Physical Workout, Cognitive Workout, and Mental Health Workout for children and adults in many instances, he said.

Four per cent of the callers wanted to discuss about their past trauma while six per cent called to share about their anxiety about their loved ones who are living alone.

Nine per cent of callers were worried about their future while one per cent shared they were experiencing emotional disability and five per cent shared concerns about being displaced from home.

Kundu shared that the counsellors work from their homes and as soon as the helpline receives a call, it is redirected to the counseller on duty at that time.

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