iCALL – Initiating Concern for All, is a psychosocial helpline, which offers counseling services by telephone, email and chat to individuals in emotional or psychological distress. The service is run by professional and trained counselors, from Monday to Saturday, 8.00 AM to 10.00 PM The helpline caters to people across age groups, gender identities, sexual orientations, languages and most importantly, across issues.
ICALL is run by the School of Human Ecology at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The helpline is housed within TISS and is funded through partnership and collaboration with academic institutions, corporate organizations, funding agencies, government and non-government organizations. Faculty from the School of Human Ecology at TISS are involved in an advisory capacity on an honorary basis. The actual iCALL team consists of a team of trained and qualified mental health professionals, led by a Programme Coordinator, who is also a trained mental health professional.
iCALL commenced its operations in September 2012
You can speak with our counselors about any issue which is causing emotional and psychological distress to you. Our clients call us with a wide range of concerns ranging from relationships to work-life, academic issues and crisis situations etc. Our expert counselors are trained to provide counseling for the wide spectrum of emotional and psychological issues.
iCALL can provide you with help in the following ways:
- By providing professional counseling via telephone, email and chat
- By providing information about the various aspects of mental health and providing with suggestions that can help improve one’s psychological wellbeing.
- By demystifying the process of counseling for you and helping you feel more confident about this process
- By providing you with referrals to mental health professionals, doctors, NGOs etc from our exhaustive referral database
At iCALL, all telephone, email and chat are attended to by trained and qualified mental health professionals who work on a full-time basis with the helpline. Each of our team members have a Master's degree in either Clinical Psychology or Counselling Psychology and extensive training in order to help individuals facing a wide range of issues and challenges.
There is no restriction on what you can share with the counselor as long as you are comfortable with it. Everything you share with a counselor remains confidential between you and the counselors at iCALL. The communication is done anonymously and no personal identifying details are mandatorily taken from you. A very high frequency of calls is not encouraged, in order to avoid dependence on the counselors. However, more than one call in a day can be accommodated at times, considering the sensitivity of the concern, after coming to a consensus about the same with the counsellor.
At iCALL, we follow the policy of shared confidentiality. After each telephone, email and chat, information about the case is shared with the other counselors at the helpline. Since your call or email can be answered by a different counselor each time, shared confidentiality helps us ensure that every counselor has the necessary information and understanding of the case. This helps to maintain the flow of counseling for you, while ensuring that you do not have to repeat any of the information already shared.
No, you do not need to disclose your name to us.
Yes, absolutely. We have numerous clients who have called us and continue to call us to share a number of very personal and sensitive issues. We ensure that all the concerns shared are listened to and dealt with in the most empathetic and professional way.
Our data management software generates a unique profile for you based on your telephone number, which then helps us pick up from where we left off in our previous session with you. Rest assured that your identity/location is not being tracked using your telephone number. Your number will never be published anywhere and you will never receive unsolicited communication from our end. Even in cases of crisis where we may be required to proactively reach out to you, this shall be done with your knowledge and consent as far as possible.
No, your location is not being tracked
There is no audio recording of your phone call. However, our counsellors do maintain typed notes of each session which helps us help you better. These notes are important as they allow any counselor who speaks with you to pick up from where the previous counselor left off.
iCALL is based in Mumbai but we cannot disclose the location of the helpline in the interest of the safety and confidentiality of our counsellors.
At iCALL our Counseling services are free, but you will have to pay the call charges as per your telecom provider.
The languages offered at iCALL are Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Konkani.
For the effectiveness of the counselling process and for the optimum utilisation of time on the helpline, it is encouraged that you have one counselling session, lasting upto 45 minutes- 1 hour, in a day. However more than one call in a day can be accommodated at times, considering the sensitivity of concern. Also, ideally, the counselling sessions should be interspersed in a week, to avoid dependence on the helpline. Between counseling sessions, the counselor may ask you to introspect and observe certain thought processes, beliefs or emotions, the reflections from which you can share in the next session. Besides, you may also be encouraged to work on some goals identified collaboratively with the counsellor in between sessions.
At iCALL, we follow the policy of two-way anonymity. We do not ask for your name or personal details and we do not disclose our names either.
Counseling as a process is designed to not provide advice but instead work with you to help you make decisions and find solutions. The process of counseling is a planned and structured process of two-way dialogue between the counselor and you. The counselor uses their expertise to help you identify the source of your difficulties and with the use of assessments and interventions they work with you to try and find ways of addressing your concern in a way that will be acceptable to you. This process of counseling aims at empowering the client to find solutions for himself/herself and follow them through.
Yes, absolutely. Please feel free to vent and share whatever you would like to. This is a safe space for you to do that.
Whatever information is shared by you is kept completely confidential. Only in the eventuality of a threat to self or others is this information shared partially to ensure the safety of the person concerned.
iCALL does not have a call back facility. A call back is made only in an emergency or when there is a threat to life and the client is unable to reach out to us/ the line gets disconnected and the client is deemed to be in a crisis situation.
Yes, you can opt for couple counseling but you may also be required to do individual counseling sessions. The process of couple counseling sometimes encourages the two individuals involved to also do their own individual processing and introspection through the process of counseling. These individual counseling sessions ultimately empower you to contribute more and make the couple counseling sessions more effective.
The process of counseling aims at empowering you. So, while we will not be able to call someone on your behalf our counselors will work with you and help you develop the confidence you need to make that call.
iCALL does not provide face to face counseling. We, however, have a detailed directory of mental health professionals spread all across India who provide face to face counseling.
iCALL at this point employs counselors who hold a master’s degree in counseling and psychology. If you wish to explore work opportunities, please write to us at Contact.firstname.lastname@example.org You can also go to our volunteer page on the explore ways in which you could help spread the word about us
You will first receive an automated confirmation that your email has been received and a more detailed response from the counselor will follow at the earliest, depending upon the email flow.
The response to your email is sent by one of our trained and qualified counselors.
Yes, we can explore this. Please send us your details and credentials at email@example.com
Absolutely! There is a conscious and collective effort made at iCALL to do specialized work for the LGBT community and other marginalized communities. iCALL has undertaken training programs to sensitize their counselors to the concerns of the LGBTQ community and has reached out to professionals, collectives and organizations working with the LGBT community to understand the unique stressors and concerns faced by the community.
Absolutely . People from various parts of the country and the world do reach out to us. Geographical locations and distances are not a deterrent for you to call us. Our counseling services are free. You will, however, have to pay for the phone call charges.
iCALL does not provide financial aid but we may be able to guide you to an organization that may do so through our referral database.
We do not have a psychiatrist in our team. But we do have an exhaustive repository of referrals within which there are psychiatrists.
We believe that the right person to guide you about your medication is your psychiatrist. While we will not be able to guide you about your medication we can refer you to a psychiatrist who will then guide you accordingly. We can also provide a safe space for you to talk about your concerns and issues which may help you while you are seeing a psychiatrist for your medication.
Yes, iCALL is a very safe space to share this. We get a lot of calls from individuals facing violence or abuse at home, in their relationships, or at work. Our counselors are sensitized and trained to deal with your most traumatic and sensitive concerns. Since we also work with women friendly NGOs, women friendly shelter homes and women friendly government organizations, we can help you with referrals for any other assistance you might need.
If you are unsure about which form of counseling, you want to approach please read about both these processes and how they work. These articles are available on our website. You always have a choice to avail either forms of counseling and our trained counselors will respond to you on both the modalities.