Urgent Care Centers Overwhelmed

Social emergency centers are accessible round the clock via emergency hotline 123.Social emergency centers are accessible round the clock via emergency hotline 123.

More than 173,000 calls were made to the Social Emergency hotline 123 last year (ended March 20), and family conflict was the most common complaint.  

There are different sections in the social emergency services to support diverse needs. They include permanent centers for crisis intervention, mobile teams and emergency hotline, said Hossein Asad Beigi, head of the Social Emergency Center at the State Welfare Organization (SWO).

“Last year, around 4,000 people were counseled at the 200 crisis intervention centers across the country. Also, emergency services were offered to 90,000 people by mobile teams (equipped with 297 vehicles),” ISNA quoted him as saying.

Explaining the efforts to prevent suicides, he said around 5,225 cases of suicide attempts were reported, of which 886 were referred to the crisis intervention centers and received professional help. Mobile teams also offered services in 2,017 cases and the remaining received telephone consultations.

Currently, the suicide rate in Iran is low compared to the global average. The figure is 4-5 per 100,000 people while the global average is 11-12 per 100,000.

Referring to domestic violence and child abuse cases, the official said 26,500 cases of child abuse were reported and 2,700 cases were referred to the crisis intervention centers in the previous year. Mobile teams offered services in 10,000 cases and 13,700 cases received counseling by phone.

In response to a query on who reports child abuse to the centers, the official said, “Such cases are usually reported by neighbors, relatives, schools, police, NGOs, and hospitals and health centers. In some cases, children are handed over to welfare centers permanently or temporarily.”

Around 2,000 experts are working at the social emergency centers. Since the beginning of the current year, 24 more centers have been opened in different cities.

Under the sixth five-year economic and social development plan (2017-22), “we are committed to launch 140 new centers in cities with a population of 50,000 and above by the end of the current fiscal in March 2018.”

Stating that social emergency centers are accessible round the clock via emergency hotline 123 Asad Beigi said, “Those who want to report cases of social disorders, including spousal and child abuse, domestic violence, and runaway girls and women can dial the hotline.”

Most of those who call emergency hotline 123 are residents of Tehran and Mazandaran provinces.


 Irresponsible Parents

Additionally, 1,189 infants and children were diagnosed in hospitals as drug-dependent, among whom, 15 babies lost their lives, 467 children were handed over to welfare centers and 60 were released into the custody of close relatives, he said.

From among the reported cases, 600 were girls and 589 were boys. Also, 639 were infants under 12 months. Provinces of Tehran, Kerman, Kermanshah, and South Khorasan had the highest numbers of infant/child addiction cases.  

 Some of the parents claimed they gave opioids to their babies and children to calm them or soothe their pain.

Earlier, Asad Beigi had said that babies of homeless mothers are not released after detoxification. They remain under the protection of SWO, charity institutions, or relatives until their parents find a suitable place to live.

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