iCALL: Addressing Psychosocial Needs Of People In Distress

Below are extracts from the iCALL Annual Report 2015-16. It gives an overview of the services they undertake and gives us a picture of the volume and nature of calls they get. 

About iCALL

iCALL is a telephonic counselling service for addressing psychosocial needs of people in distress in a gender sensitive manner. It caters to individuals across all age groups (with a special emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women and elderly). The helpline provides information, emotional support and referral linkages. It is managed by trained counsellors who have

minimum a post-graduate qualification in counselling or clinical psychology. These counsellors actively and supportively listen to the individual’s disclosures of emotional distress. They attempt to provide a safe, holding environment, along with other assistance needed by the callers. Additionally, iCALL offers email counselling services to those who wish to communicate this way.

The counselling service addresses different issues ranging from crisis oriented needs to more long term emotional needs. The response from callers as well as emailers has been growing with each advancing month. Since its inception in September 2012, the helpline’s counsellors have answered over 40,000 calls and emails on different issues such as emotional distress, mental health, relationship issues, sexuality, gender based violence, study related issues etc.

Calls at iCALL

  • The total number of calls received in the period April 2015 to August 2016 was 15,998 which meant that the helpline, on an average, received 941 calls per month. Out of this, 12,265 calls or 76 per cent of the total calls were genuine calls. 
  • The number of total calls answered by the helpline since inception has now reached 37,419 calls in all in four years. The total number of genuine calls handled by iCALL since inception totals to 22,828 calls.
  • The helpline received 2122 genuine emails in this period, which meant that the helpline on an average received 125 emails per month across seventeen months. This more than double the number of emails received in the period from September 2013 to March 2015 (950).
  • In terms of the ages of those who reached out to the helpline, the youngest client to reach out to the helpline during the past twelve months was aged 12 years, while the oldest client was aged 89 years.
  • The gender-wise usage of the helpline has been spread equitably between Male and Female clients with slightly more than 50 per cent of the total usage of the helpline over calls coming from clients identifying as gender female, while the corresponding figure for clients identifying as gender male was slightly more than 49 per cent.
  • The data reveals that Emotional Distress, Relationship Concerns, Mental Health, Information Requests and Physical Health were the five most frequently cited Primary concerns with which callers approached the helpline. In addition to these issues, the helpline received more than a hundred calls on nine (9) other thematic categories which include issues such as Academic Concerns, Violence Against Women, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Suicidal Ideation.
  • In nearly 50 per cent of such cases the concomitant issue was ‘Emotional Distress’ due to the fact that often clients were not ready to work on the actual issue leading to the emotional distress yet as identified by them, and needed help to contain difficult, overwhelming emotions.

You can read the full report on iCALL’s website. Their helpline number is 022-25521111. If you wish to contact them through e-mail, their id is icall@tiss.edu iCALL now provides chat based counseling through nULTA APP. Write to them at icall@tiss.edu if you have queries regarding chat based counselling sessions.