Abidjan, 27 March, 2020 / 7:20 am (ACI Africa).
With 80 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Ivory Coast, a priest in the West African country has opened a call centre to offer psychological support to Ivorians weighed down by the emotional burden of the highly contagious global pandemic.
The call centre has been created “to strengthen the psychological assistance to people who feel the need to find appropriate responses to their emotional suffering and to the threats that the coronavirus poses to them,” acting director of the Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus (ITCJ), Fr. Jean Messingue has been quoted as saying.
Established in partnership with the Director of the Bouaké Psychiatric Hospital, Professor Médard Koua, the Abidjan-based call centre has received dozens of calls from people seeking psychological assistance or information related to COVID-19, the Jesuit cleric has said.
“The nature of the coronavirus, the modes of contamination and the lack of radical treatment, the measures of restriction and confinement, the images of mass deaths in hyper-specialized western hospitals are all anxiety-provoking and even traumatic factors,” the clinical psychologist has shared.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, Professor Koua has noted, “the most frequent psychological disorders are illnesses of fear, post-traumatic stress states, obsessions, depression, the use of psychoactive substances.”