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Psychological First Aid: First and foremost support in Emergency

“‘I feel numb when I can’t help anyone. I don’t want to live anymore just watching innocent people dying every day.” Shyam (pseudonym), a 48-years man, contacted to a helpline service and complained one mid-night. After a month of online counseling service from a Psychologist, Shyam has improved a lot. He also consulted with a psychiatrist in a video call arranged by KOSHISH. Public health actions, such as physical distancing, can make many people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress, anxiety and depression.

The use of social distancing to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19 has changed the regular modality of community mental health services. World widely, psychological first aid is being used to support those in need of mental and wellbeing support in emergency situations. KOSHISH also initiated online counseling and psychological first aid service just after the declaration of nationwide lockdown. A total of 779 persons received tele mental health services during last 3 months of lockdown. 387 persons with psychosocial issues were reached through phone follow up service, 173 persons through psychological first aid and 77persons were provided psychosocial counseling service. 89 persons with mental health problems were referred to other services. 33 persons with disability were linked to other service like relief package of government and emergency health care. “It’s an extremely positive thing for me to support people who need help. As a community psychosocial worker, I’ve seen there’s a vast need to help people, and to let people know they’re not alone in what they are going through.’ says Gita Ghale one of the Community Psychosocial Worker (CPSW) of KOSHISH.

Bipin Ghimire, CPSW of KOSHISH says, “I’ve talked with 150 community people about their various issues and they feel good when someone listens them in difficult situation.”

Dipak Neupane, Psychologist from KSOHISH says, “There have been some very tough talks, and I have needed to access more specialist support for those. The more we are open about these issues the better it will be”.

Rajendra BK says, “I’m happy to be there to help others with their issues, so ultimately I’m doing what I want to do in life. It’s great seeing someone feel positive after a few talks and to help them connecting to required services”

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