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Telephone hotline provides remote support to those suffering in COVID-19 lockdown conditions

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

An emergency telephone helpline that was set up in the Siberian city of Tomsk (Russia) has proven to be an essential form of support for those suffering from mental health-related issues during COVID-19 lockdown conditions.

Since the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and the consequential restrictions it has placed on all of our lives, the rise in mental health issues has been well documented. To help those suffering during this time, a team of highly-qualified specialists (psychologists and psychotherapists) from the Mental Health Research Institute - TNRMC RAS (headquarters of the International Association of Ethnopsychologists and Ethnopsychotherapists), in Tomsk, set up a remote psychological and psychotherapeutic support “hot-line” (including four free telephone numbers).

COVID-19 Hotline Project Overview

This project, headed by the President of IAEE and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Nikolay Bokhan, supports those experiencing issues, such as: anxiety, depression, hypochondriac disorders, and difficulties in social-psychological adaptation. Throughout lockdowns, the hotline also helps to 1) overcome the lack of specialist psychological and psychiatric support for outpatients, and 2) provide daily (including weekends and holidays) remote psychological-psychotherapeutic support for emergency situations. In a number of these cases, the consultation led to a referral for treatment in a clinic.

The main disorders the team in Tomsk have been dealing with include: neurotic disorders (45%), mood disorders (20%), somatoform disorders (25%) and generalised anxiety disorders (5-7%).

The implementation of an emergency telephone service has shown to be an effective way to remotely support people dealing with very real issues during these difficult times and living under quarantine conditions.

Authors: Professor Nikolay Bokhan and Doctor Valentina Lebedeva


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