Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has said more than 90,000 farmers in 14 “suicide-prone” districts of the state have been provided “counselling” under its project ‘Prerna’. Prerna, which has been underway since 2015 to stop farm suicides, comprises social workers, psychiatrists and ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist Scheme) workers among others who counsel farmers suffering depression.
An official release from the government identified these districts as Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Hingoli, Nanded, Latur, Osmanabad, Parbhani in Marathwada and Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal and Wardha in Vidarbha. It informed that, in the last three years, 2,000 medical officers, 10,000 semi-health staff and 20,000 ASHA workers have been trained on mental health as part of the project.
These personnel, post training, have surveyed the 14 districts for counselling, the statement quoted state Health Minister Eknath Shinde as saying. The release said 12,700 personnel have been trained as part of the project, adding that the 14 districts now have a total of 20,913 ASHA workers.
It said these ASHA workers survey villages and contact the project’s helpline number in case a farmer is in need of counselling. The release said about 26,000 calls had been received on helpline number 104. It added that 8,000 farmers were treated individually while while 6,000 were counselled publicly.
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