Meet Sahayogees-volunteers who are reaching out to people undergoing addiction withdrawal symptoms in the country. The Art of Living launched a helpline to help those undergoing severe mental distress and physiological symptoms in the absence of alcohol and other intoxicants.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living launched the helpline earlier this month as an emergency measure with a long term vision of offering proper support to the affected community.

sri sri ravi shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living FoundationIANS

Art Of Living de-addiction programs have helped thousands

The addiction helpline number is 080 676 12325. The new helpline of Art Of Living will continue to be a line of support and counselling to all affected by substance use addictions. Over the years Art Of Living de-addiction programs have helped thousands deal with their addictions and lead happy and productive lives for society and their families.

Under a nationwide lockdown, there are increasing newspaper reports of suicides and cases of domestic violence related to substance use. The helpline works as 'first responders'. "It will facilitate treatment to those who are willing and will enhance the motivation of those who are undecided to give up substance use," said Vikram M, Head of the project with The Art of Living, "There will be ongoing telephonic support for the next 3 months, while they continue to get medical treatment under the care of a psychiatrist."

alcohol hangover
Hangover [Representational Image]Pexels

The helpline is managed by more than 60 Art of Living teachers who have been trained to provide support, give a message of hope and motivational counselling. It is a PAN India initiative and the helpline is currently operating in 9 Indian languages- Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu & Malayalam. Soon more languages are likely to be included.

How does helpline work? 

First Responders-60 teachers have been trained in counselling taking addiction-related calls. FR assesses the level of help required based on standard tools while offering the second line of support. Sahayogees will be assigned as mentors for ongoing support and hand holding to the path of complete recovery. This is a long term initiative and that will continue to offer support to those in need after the lockdown is over too.

"We have 97 teachers in the above various roles offering assistance in 9 regional languages," says Vikram M. The PRAN (Program For Release From Addictions Naturally) programs of Art Of Living offer effective support for those affected by addictions of substances like alcohol, drugs, gutkha, tobacco, cigarettes, or other substances.