Wed, Apr 1, 2020

Provision of first line psychological support

Respond to the local situation: As the situation is very different from country to country, please adjust to your country’s specific situation. We therefore encourage our member associations to get into contact with their local health authorities and promote their official assessment and guidelines. 

Get the facts: assist people in making sure they are getting the right facts. Governments are providing objective information about the virus in your country through websites to which you can refer. The European Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDP) and control has a special website on the Coronavirus which gives regular updates: Covid 19

Communicate with children: discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age – appropriate information. Parents can also help allay distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe parents behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during time.

Keep (safely) connected: Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Encourage people to share useful information on governmental websites with friends and family. In case of quarantine, people can still maintain contact from a distance.

Coping with quarantine: Prof. Atle Dyregrov, former member of our SC on Crisis, Trauma and Disaster psychology wrote a text that provides very useful information on supporting people who have to deal with a quarantine situation. The Lancet published an interesting review on the psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it.

Support people to seek additional help: Individuals who feel an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness, or other prolonged reactions that adversely affect their job performance or interpersonal relationships should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional.

Promote safety: people can enhance safety by following guidelines on personal protection, environmental countermeasures, social distancing countermeasures and travel – related countermeasures as explained by the ECDP: Guidelines on non – pharmaceutical countermeasures

Most of these guidelines have been modified by your local health authorities. We would again encourage you to get into contact with them and use these guidelines to support the general population.