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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-48

Telecounseling and guided relaxation for addressing patient, student, and health-care worker distress: An experience

1 Department of Psychiatry, Pramukhswami Medical College, Bhaikaka University, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Pramukhswami Medical College, Bhaikaka University, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jagdish Varma
Department of Psychiatry, Pramukhswami Medical College, Bhaikaka University, Karamsad, Anand - 388 325, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_104_21

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Introduction: In the face of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the leadership of the institute felt a need for mental health interventions among patients admitted in COVID-19 isolation, university students, and health-care workers engaged in COVID-19 care. This article aims to share our experience in providing these services. Methodology: COVID-19 inpatients were telephonically counseled. Counseling protocol was based on national guidelines. Students of the university were assessed for emotional problems using a symptom checklist and Kessler 10-item Distress Scale. Subsequently, the faculty assigned as mentors were trained in providing telephonic psychological first aid (PFA) to the students. Psychosocial help was offered to health-care workers through daily guided relaxation sessions. Results: Forty-two of 69 COVID-19 inpatients were telephonically contacted. New-onset mental health problems were found in 40%. Half of the COVID-19 confirmed patients and half of the females had a higher prevalence of mental health problems. On the symptom checklist, 330 students were responded. Worry about the future, contagion, and boredom were reported by the majority of students. On the Kessler 10-item Distress Scale, 272 students were responded. Thirty-seven percent had likely mental disorders (22 males and 79 females). Twenty-two students contacted psychiatrists through mentors and were provided teleconsultation. Eighty health-care workers attended guided relaxation sessions. Twenty-nine responded on the feedback form. Most respondents felt guided relaxation was useful in reducing stress, with strongly agree (n = 12) and agree (n = 14) responses. Conclusions: Emotional problems were significantly prevalent among students and COVID-19 patients. Training faculty in PFA can help address students in distress. Guided relaxation may help frontline workers manage stress.

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