Now a mental health counselling camp at Singhu border to help protesting farmers deal with stress

New Delhi: A mental health counselling camp is the latest addition to the list of facilities available at Singhu border for farmers protesting against the farm laws for over a month. The camp is helping farmers deal with anxiety, distress and depression during the ongoing protest.

“People come here with depression due to multiple factors like debt burden, protest conditions and others. There are many emotions which farmers are not able to express wholeheartedly, so to cater the need, we tried to become a platform to help them express their feelings,” Sanya Kataria, a resident clinical psychologist at the counselling camp told ANI.

The major problem faced by protesters ranges from sleep deprivation, anxiety to frustration and aggression, she said.

Kataria, who first visited the protest site in January, found that the place lacks a facility to deal with mental health issues and soon “volunteered with the NGO” for the same.

“There was a person who was mentally distressed and was treated medically at the centre,” she said while talking about a case.

Kataria stressed that there is a need for mental health volunteers and urged people to join them to benefit as many people as possible.

“Talking about mental stress is not a matter of shame and farmers should come out to discuss the matter with the doctors at the camp,” said a representative, Rajinder Singh, at the camp.

“There are multiple reasons like family and protest stress so after analysing the situation we decided to provide counselling. Usually, nobody talks about the stress openly but expressing about mental stress is not a matter of shame,” Singh said.

Singh described a case of a 65-year-old lady at protest site who got stressed with the prevailing condition and was sent home immediately after counselling.

Along with the newly-added mental health camp, the protest site has several facilities including gym, foot massage, salon, four-bedded makeshift hospital, a free tattoo shop and a Sikh museum.

The ninth rounds of talks between farmers and government remained inconclusive with both sides sticking to their positions. Next round of talks will take place on January 19.

This round of talks came three days after the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of three farm laws and formed a four-member committee to initiate a dialogue with protesting farmers to break the months-long stalemate.

Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws– Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.