Mental health, its significance and its role in shaping individuals have been spoken about at length over the last couple of years. The conversation about prioritising a healthy work-life balance has entered public discourse and is being emphasised now more than ever.
Several reports have brought to light how the pandemic affected the mental health of working professionals, with more and more people talking about the same. Keeping this in mind and as a response to the pandemic-induced mental health issues, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) launched a toll free mental health helpline last year.
The toll free number, KIRAN, is a mental health rehabilitation helpline serviceable 24×7. It offers services such as early screening, first aid, psychological support, distress and psychological crisis management. Available in 13 languages, the helpline aims to promote positivity and mental well-being.
So, how does a toll free number work?
Calling a toll free number is pretty much similar to calling any normal number. When the caller dials the number, they’re directed to a cloud telephony destination and then quickly redirected to the company’s support team.
In the case of a mental health helpline, once the patient calls, they’re first directed to a cloud telephony destination and then to a mental health professional who will give them guidance.
A toll free number comes with a variety of benefits—call recording, call monitoring and analytics that help at later stages. When it comes to mental health initiatives, these features can be used to analyse and gauge the situation better and provide better services to the callers. It can also help identify patterns or find the root cause of problems. Moreover, if the problem stems from a particular issue, the authorities can aim at finding a better and permanent solution.
Apart from that, the call recording and analysis feature can also help assess the performance of mental health professionals. One can check if the professionals can handle high call volumes, provide accurate solutions and, most importantly, whether they are making the callers feel heard.
Additionally, using a toll free number comes with another significant benefit––the missed call feature. The feature can be used for caller engagement and is hugely beneficial for mental health initiatives, since a lot of people might not be comfortable taking the first step.
With the missed call feature, mental health professionals can call back patients that may have second thoughts about seeking help.
Here are five ways in which toll free numbers can be used to support mental health initiatives:
1) Better service
Mental health issues are very subjective and often scary for most people. When they call you to discuss their problems, they will expect you to hear them out patiently. A smooth and disturbance-free conversation with professionals is what they’re looking for .
And a toll free number would ensure just that. A toll free number enables and facilitates direct connection with the support agent so that the callers can get quick assistance.
A smooth conversation will instill confidence in people and ensure that they’re getting the help they require in times of a mental health crisis.
2) Ease of portability
Remote working might have seemed like an alien concept a year ago. But COVID-19 changed the perspective on everything, including work-from-home. While businesses had to make arrangements to facilitate the situation, cloud telephony and its tools came in handy for better team communication and coordination.
Moreover, toll free numbers are portable, meaning organisations need not switch to new numbers while relocating. Similarly, if the mental health helpline set-up needs to be moved from one place to another, they can retain the old numbers.
Imagine being a caller with a mental health issue and having to search for the right number every time before making the call to seek help.
The ease of portability of toll free numbers not only save all the hassle and confusion for callers but also helps the professionals understand the call flow.
3) Cost-effective cloud services
When catering to the masses, budget is definitely a consideration. Not all countries have a robust system in place to support various initiatives. Hence, it is pertinent to ensure a cost-effective system that is sustainable in the long run.
Much to everybody’s respite, toll free numbers are easy to set up while being affordable at all times. With comparatively lower subscription rates than traditional telephony, toll free numbers come with a host of options, such as monthly plans.
Another added benefit of using a toll free number as a mental health helpline is that they work with most platforms, hence leading to more benefits. Cloud services aim at providing better infrastructure and will ultimately help mental health set-ups deal with high call volume amid other factors.
4) Easy recollection and credibility
How many times have we saved numbers in haste on our phones or scribbled them down hurriedly so that we don’t lose them?
One of the most prominent significance of toll free numbers is the recall factor associated with them. Since these numbers areeasier to recollect, the mental health helpline may receive more calls. Toll free numbers also have a greater recall value if they have repetitive digits.
They also enhance an entity’s image and credibility. Similar is the case with using toll free numbers as mental health helpline dial-ups. It might not be necessary that your mental health reps have a formal office seating arrangement. They could be working out of anywhere and the callers wouldn’t know, all thanks to the toll free number.
5) Improved satisfaction and future scalability
Toll free numbers are easier to reach as compared to any normal number. With a toll free number in place, you can assist the callers directly by putting them in touch with the concerned person. Redressing their issues and concerns becomes easier without any additional effort or investment on your part.
Once the initial setup is in place, the number of calls will grow by the day. Some days the helpline might receive 10 calls a day and on other days, they might go up to 40-50. The benefit of using a toll free number is that you can add as many lines as you deem fit behind the toll free digits.
Since the calls are routed directly to the professional’s phone, it will be easier for them to handle high call volumes while being mobile. So even if the team size increases or decreases, depending upon the call volume, or the team moves from one location to another, the digits remain the same without the hassle of being transferred every time.
While there are plenty of mental health initiatives and resources, all of them might not be easily accessible or equally effective. Therefore, it is important to ensure easy access as well as effectiveness of these resources.
Having a toll free number as a mental health helpline will not only ensure the same but will also allow greater flexibility for the professionals on the other end of the line. Toll free numbers involve low costs, are convenient, and also go beyond geographical barriers to reach a wider audience. With their easy recall value and a series of other advantages, both parties can benefit from them.
Hence, using toll free numbers as a mental health helpline is a step in the right direction. If want to know more about toll free numbers feel free to reach out to us at 1800-120-4132.