Many patients, kin face anxiety and depression and are in need of emotional support
Families of 178 COVID-19 patients in Kochi Corporation limits are going through depressive experiences and 228 families are facing fear and anxiety, while 12 families are in need of advanced professional emotional support.
Further, the pandemic has dwindled the income of 399 families, 279 families are dealing with related stress, and 46 families are concerned about children, especially their education. These are some of the findings of the ongoing free psycho-social support being extended to COVID-19 patients by the Kochi Corporation. The service is being provided as tele-counselling by 74 social work students of the Rajagiri School of Social Sciences, Kalamasserry. A professional counselling agency will provide advance counselling to the needy.
“People isolated from society needs emotional support beyond their treatment and basic needs. The pandemic has helped our society to rediscover its compassion towards our brethren, which used to be our hallmark. We plan to reach out to the maximum people possible,” said Mayor M. Anilkumar.
So far, the 74 student volunteers split into 8 groups have contacted 595 families from the list of patients given by the COVID Cell of the Corporation. The calls, which last from 30 to 45 minutes, are made between 10 a.m and 6 p.m. based on the convenience of the families. Each volunteers makes up to calls a day.
“A woman in her 50s said that at one point she even thought about suicide and talking her out of that mental state is so fulfilling. They shared mostly economic concerns, including lose of livelihood and children’s education,” said Ansia Badar, a final-year MSW student and a team leader.
The tele-counselling session is divided into three parts, eliciting data on immediate concerns, psychological, and impact — on income, employment, medical care, inter-personal relations, access to food.
Employment of 324 families has been hit by the pandemic, 191 families are facing a general economic downturn, 163 families are having emotional problems, and 129 families are facing problems in inter-personal relationships.
“The experience gave me invaluable professional insights and practical application of principles. Most of these people are happy just talking to someone and that in turn makes us happy,” said Rekha Mariya Biju, another student volunteer.
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