Across China: Volunteers protect mental health amid COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-12 22:03:17|Editor: huaxia

TIANJIN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Du Xiayang,a mother of a one-year-old child, is a part-time psychological consultant in the Mental Health Education Center of Tianjin University.

Over the past three months, her work schedule has been occupied by providing psychological consultations for people under home quarantine.

She became a member of a volunteer group organized by the center in northern China's Tianjin Municipality after the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in January.

"Very often, psychological sessions take me 10 hours a day," she said.

In China's nationwide battle against the novel coronavirus, mental health volunteers have been playing an important role in helping people overcome fears.

The role of psychological counseling has been highlighted in the fight against COVID-19. The State Council inter-agency task force for epidemic control released a work plan in March on sustained psychological counseling services for those affected by the epidemic.

In addition to thousands of psychological experts providing professional mental care for both infected patients and medical staff on the frontline, volunteers are working tirelessly to help residents get through the hard time.

Du received a call for help from a freshman in a university who was stressed by online learning in his first year of study.

"He said to me that he had good grades in high school, but couldn't keep up with the pace of the online courses, which gave him a feeling of weariness," Du said.

"During the special time, many people have been trying hard to adjust themselves to the changes, students studying from home, people in need of new career planning and love relationships under stress," Du said.

Du, who provides video counseling online, said her counseling helps people find the origin of their weariness and solutions for relief.

An Li, head of the volunteer team, said that about 90 percent of the volunteers on his team are young psychiatrists, psychological counselors and students majoring in psychology in Tianjin University. Their psychological assistance has helped soothe negative emotions such as anxiety and fear among the public in the face of the epidemic.

Zhang Qiang, a 23-year-old volunteer in the group, works as a secretary, helping set up counseling sessions with specialists.

"I must understand patients' wishes and counseling needs and match them with appropriate psychological consultants, setting times and consulting methods," said Zhang.

He said although staying home, he felt his life was full of meaning.

By the end of April, the team had provided 906 online psychological counseling sessions, answered 92 hotline requests and 46 inquiries by email.

An said volunteer work helped psychological counselors explore more diversified methods of providing psychological assistance such as giving micro-classes, online lectures and online group counseling.

"The volunteering experience has led to my decision to apply for a doctorate study in psychology," Du said. Enditem