Indian Railway is set to Introduce Counselling Sessions for Their Security Force

Indian Railway is set to Introduce Counselling Sessions for Their Security Force


Indian Railway is going to initiate counselling sessions and a “buddy system” for the first time to assess the mental health of its security personnel force in collaboration with Mpower, an Aditya Birla Education Trust initiative.

The first batch of sessions, which start on October 21, will include at least 40 to 50 members of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). This action comes into effect after a shooting incident inside the Mumbai-Jaipur Superfast Express on July 31 that resulted in the deaths of four persons including one senior officer and three passengers by a former Railway Protection Force officer, Chetan Singh.

Introduction of “Buddy System”:

The railways plan to use a “buddy system” to promote staff discussion of problems among themselves. According to sources, the goal was to make sure that two RPF employees were always tagged along with one another throughout working hours. According to a Western Railway (WR) representative, “The idea is to foster bonhomie and a means for officers to discuss problems with each other. This will relieve stress at least.”
The sessions will be held in several locations, and the results will guide future mental health and medicine initiatives. In the worst situation, if any abnormal behaviour is found, higher-ranking police will be notified.

Current Scenario:

Indian Railways does not currently have a system in place to track the mental health of its employees. According to railway sources, even before the shooting event, Indian Railways was considering implementing a system to enhance the psychological well-being of RPF personnel. But when it occurred, the procedure was accelerated. Railway officials believe that getting employees to talk openly about mental health, stress, and other issues, hurting them, even with counsellors, will be one of the hardest hurdles.

The Counselling Sessions Initiative:

Western Railways and Mpower, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 20. Mpower will supply counsellors to the Indian railways.
“The counselling sessions will initially be provided to about 1,500 RPF employees from the Mumbai division”, according to P C Sinha, inspector general and principal chief security commissioner of Western Railway. Sinha further added, “Expert counsellors will also lead group sessions and one-on-one conversations to determine whether any individuals have psychological problems.”

The counselling sessions will be held at various locations in the RPF barracks. Following the counselling sessions for each police officer, a thorough report evaluating each one of them will be written. Confidentiality will be preserved, just as in professional psychiatrist-patient relationships. Consequently, the amount, duration, and frequency of sessions may vary.

Future decisions on medical and mental support will be made based on the conclusions and analysis derived from the counselling sessions. The report may also be used to determine the job profile of an employee who is in mental distress.
Another RPF official stated, “We will also involve the families of those RPF officers who have been diagnosed by the counsellors as having poor mental health. This will assist us in assessing the potential causes of their poor mental health as well as the circumstances in their families.”

Firm Stand by Mpower:

“The Railway Protection Force, Mumbai Central Division, and Mpower have committed to providing mental health support to them in a proactive effort to address mounting concerns about the mental well-being and stress levels among Indian railways security forces,” according to a statement from Mpower. Vice President of Operations at Mpower Parveen Shaikh declared, “We are dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health issues.”

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