Sukh-Dukh, a helpline for families who lost thier loved ones to COVID-19

The death of dear ones is one of the worst tragedies in life. COVID-19 has made mourning extremely difficult as people are denied the chance to give the final goodbye kiss or even see the face of their dear ones. While government and voluntary groups are providing psychological support to COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine, an NGO based in Kerala is lending a helping hand to the bereaved families across India, to help them cope with the sudden loss of their dear ones. Pallium India, a Thiruvananthapuram-based non-governmental organisation, has set up a national helpline called Sukh-Dukh helpline, to provide the grieving families of COVID-19 victim(s) with timely emotional support, before intense grief spirals into serious mental health conditions like depression.

Officially launched in October 2020, the Sukh-Dukh helpline service is available in eight languages — English, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali. The team comprising trained and experienced psychologists and counsellors provide emotional support to bereaved families. Pallium India has collaborated with its partners – Caregiver Saathi, MIND India and Edjacklegs — to offer services. The free service is available via a call at 759 4052 605 or mail at [email protected]

Dr MR Rajagopal, founder and chairman of Pallium India, said that people would find it extremely difficult to manage the death of dear ones, especially in case of a disease like COVID-19, where they are isolated. “In normal circumstances, the rituals performed at funerals could provide some respite to the bereaved. The family members could give the final kiss and they will be surrounded by relatives who could console them. But all these are missing in the pandemic situation,” said the palliative care physician.

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