Almost two weeks after a police officer in Kerala's Kamalassery died by suicide, the state police department sprung into action and decided to strengthen its project —Help and Assistance to Tackle Stress (HATS) to help the personnel fight mental health concerns.
The officer was reeling under financial stress and was unable to cope with the testing times, reported The News Minute.
HATS was introduced in 2017 to identify the officers wrestling with issues related to the personal or professional front and offer counselling sessions and crucial insights by the experts.
59 Deaths In 3 Years
As many as 59 police officers died by suicide between 2016 and 2019, while most cases were recorded in 2019.
"It was originally launched on January 27, 2017. When the number of suicides increased (13 in 2016, 14 in 2017, 13 in 2018, and 19 in just a few months of 2019), HATS was highlighted in a bigger way," said an official, reported The News Minute.
To improve the mental wellness of the officers, a counsellor and a psychologist are currently available. If any officer seeks further assistance or psychiatric support, they can be referred to the doctors and hospitals.
According to the available data, over 4,000 police personnel have approached the HATS helpline for counselling.
Aid To Family Members
The Kerala Police Association has stated that it has been helping the bereaved families of police officers with financial aid.
KP Praveen, General Secretary of the Association, said that the team has been collecting money from 1980 from every official within the force and providing monetary aid to the family that has lost a member of the police force. Through HATS initiative, the department is trying to communicate that help is available but one has to take the first step.
Officers from the Kerala Police force or their family members who would like to talk to someone can contact HATS on 9495363896.