Umang provides Pakistan’s first 24/7 Mental Health Helpline. It is run by clinical psychologists, therapists, counselors and psychiatrists and operates free of cost for individuals calling in to require professional help.
Pakistan is facing an increasing prevalence of mental health conditions, which coupled with a lack of accessible mental health services, results in a large treatment gap. Nearly one third of the population has experienced a mental health condition. A recent report published by a reputable news agency reported that 15-34 people in Pakistan die by suicide a day.
Umang was created in November 2018 by a group of physicians to address this need. It is a 24/7 accessible mental health helpline, that operates free of cost for people with mental health conditions who wish to anonymously (or otherwise) seek help from qualified psychiatrists and psychologists.
Summary of relevant work
The helpline is run by team of 200 GCP Certified Clinical psychologists , having completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology. The psychologists work under strict supervision of seniors (mental health specialists and practitioners) along with continual guidance in the form of regular case discussions via virual sessions and training manuals. Since Umang has been operational:
Through the helpline we have conducted around 5,000 therapeutic sessions, completing more than 7,000 hours and reached out to more than 10,000 individuals.
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Social stigma and religious taboos associated with mental health conditions and symptoms continues to act as the biggest challenge to Umang’s work. To this end, in addition to free counselling services and psychoeducation, Umang is determined to fight the taboo associated with mental health conditions in Pakistan by raising awareness about conditions, their signs, symptoms and treatment options nationwide.
Umang is being funded by Ferozsons Pakistan, who are also helping them with the research and trends generation for mental health conditions in Pakistan. The psychologists that worked free of cost initially now receive stipend for every client they cater.The helpline is however still free of cost for the clients and will continue remaining as envisioned