Govt Helpline Gives Emotional Support To Children Battling COVID

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New Delhi: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has tackled over 400 calls of children who suffered from coronavirus on its helpline since September. The toll-free helpline number 1800-121-2830 was started for counselling and psycho-social support of children.

The tele-counselling service aims to provide psychological first-aid and emotional support to children who are in quarantine or isolation or at COVID care centres, to those who have COVID positive parents or family members, or to children who have lost their parents due to COVID-19, The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported quoting PTI.

There have been calls by children feeling low and anxious after getting infected with COVID-19 and having trouble concentrating on studies after contracting the virus. In one such case, a teenager boy said he found it difficult to get along with his parents and brother.

The counsellors on the helpline first established a rapport with him and empathy was used and the child was made comfortable in talking about his problem, TNIE reported.

“The anxiety of the child was addressed. To address the physical symptoms to which he believed was a side effect of COVID, a small breathing exercise was done with him which brought him instant relief as reported by the child,” an official was quoted as saying.

“In the course of the session he also spoke about the loss of his grandfather which made him sad. To address the issue, he was recommended to write a letter to his grandfather,” the official said.

In another case, a 17-year-old was diagnosed with COVID in September. She recovered but had dengue fever after that. As a result, she lost her sleep.

“The child reported that COVID and dengue led to the problem of insomnia (sleeplessness). The counsellors taught the child some deep breathing techniques. The child was asked to take light food for supper,” the official said.

The issue of not being able to sleep was addressed and the child was advised to practice breathing exercise twice a day for 10 minutes, he added.

The official said the helpline has counsellors who have been specially trained by the expert team of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) to address the needs of children in these difficult times, TNIE reported.

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