Installation of psychological treatment in all SSP, CHU sought

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VIJAYAWADA: Vimukta, a forum for sex workers and trafficking survivors, said on Saturday that all primary and urban health centers, hospitals and clinics should be equipped to offer counseling and psychological treatment.

Speaking at a meeting ahead of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, Vimukti President S. Meharunnisa and Secretary G. Pushpavathi said it was time for the government to put in place treatment services for community mental health and campaigns to prevent suicidal tendencies among informal workers, including sex workers, especially because of lockdowns.

They said that since the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in strict closures and other restrictions, thousands of sex workers were unable to work and earn money. They said arrests, fines, violence, interruptions of law enforcement assistance and forced evictions had been reported by sex workers, fueling fears the pandemic could escalate stigma , discrimination and police repression.

Among other demands, Vimukti leaders said the government should make mental health and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) testing a mandatory precursor to the rehabilitation of human trafficking survivors, the implementation community health programs for sex workers in at least three districts with larger populations and support NGOs to provide trauma care to victims.

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