Airtel enables NIMH Mental Health Helpline 1926 expansion to Whatsapp

Airtel Lanka in partnership with the National Institute ofMental Health (NIMH), announced a major expansion of the 1926 Mental Health Helpline to now include a dedicated Whatsapp service. Anyone in need of mental health assistance can now reach NIMH’s Mental Health HelplineviaWhatsAppon075555 1926.

“The recent lockdowns and the increased isolation that it caused has led to an increase in mental healthrelated issues. Hence, the need for a WhatsApp based solution is very much the need of the hour. Themajoritywhoreachout throughthechat-line tendtobe youngSriLankanswhoarestrugglingto cope”

“Text messaging is of course a great solution, especially for young people, who tend to be morecomfortable chatting instead of speaking, especially when starting a conversation with us, and we aregrateful to the Airtel team for supporting our efforts to expand access to mental health,” NIMH Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr.Pushpa Ranasinghe said.

Since going live on World Mental Health Day 2020, the text-based service alone has helped to initiateover 100 life-saving interventions, in addition to providing support, comfort and guidance to manyindividuals facingchallenges withtheirmentalhealth.

“Airtel is proud to continue supporting the incredible work being done by the team at NIMH, and wehope that the expansion of the 1926 service to Whatsapp will encourage even more Sri Lankans to reachout, knowing that there is always someone there to listen,” said Ashish Chandra, CEO/MD, Airtel SriLanka.

He noted that Airtel’s decision to expand the service to Whatsapp was a direct response to young users of the text-based service themselves who tend to show a clear preference for data over voice or text.The additional functionality enabled by the app could also open up new possibilities for the life-saving service –potentially including video-calls, sharing of prescriptions, and voice notes.

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