Across China: Psychological assistance comes into play in epidemic battle

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-07 15:39:50|Editor: Xiaoxia
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SHANGHAI, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Psychological consultants have joined the hard-fought battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic outbreak in China, easing the anxiety and fear which might otherwise spread together with the virus.

The Shanghai-based audiobook platform Ximalaya FM told Xinhua that as the coronavirus outbreak evolves, there has been an increasing demand among Wuhan citizens for audio blogs related to psychological therapy and consultation.

Audio programs on Ximalaya like "Mindfulness training in 21 days: farewell to anxiety and insomnia" and "100 psychological lessons of Lin Zi" are increasingly popular in Wuhan, big data from the platform showed.

The massive media coverage and strict quarantine have impacted people's mental and emotional wellbeing as China takes tough measures to curb the spread of the virus.

By putting her mobile phone away for two or three hours every day, Ji Yunjing, a post-80s entrepreneur living in Shanghai, chooses to read and exercise instead, shutting her mind off from the epidemic.

Luo Wenjuan, a psychological consultant, suggested people reduce the accumulation of mental strain and muscular tension, and limit time spent online.

"Family hugs, especially between husband and wife and between parents and children, can effectively enhance the feeling of safety," Luo said.

Since Jan. 25, several psychological aid projects have been launched across the country, including many psychological counseling hotlines set up by official agencies, universities and specialized Internet platforms. Dozens of senior psychological consultants and hundreds of volunteers rushed to provide assistance to the public.

"Answering questions on a hotline is like bandaging people's wounds," said Jian Lili, CEO of My Therapist, an online platform for psychotherapy, noting that such psychological assistance can set people's minds at ease and provide emotional support.

Other platforms are also available to concerned citizens. Radio Shanghai has launched a program named "Guardian Angel" through its mobile app, inviting 16 psychologists to record programs for medical workers and the public, including music and talk shows.

Tongji University in Shanghai also published a self-help book both online and in print. The book's first run of 100,000 copies will be distributed to citizens in Shanghai and Hubei Province.

"The duration of the epidemic is closely related to people's mental health," said Zhao Xudong, director of the department of clinical psychology at Dongfang Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University and one of the authors of the book.