Guidelines On The Use Of Tele Counselling For Mental Health And Psychosocial Support During The COVID 19 Pandemic In Mombasa, Kenya

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Publisher Council of Governors (CoG)
Year of Publication 2020
County Mombasa

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly, with every effort being made to ensure flattening of thecurve, the frontline humanitarian healthcare workers in Mombasa are encouraged to integrate mental health andpsychosocial wellbeing in their services. We encourage them to pay attention to regular mental health clients andemerging mental health problems associated with the pandemic. This is especially so among individuals waiting forCOVID- 19 tests in mandatory government quarantine facilities, those in designated isolation centers and selfisolation, and those grieving the loss of their loved ones as a result of COVID-19.It is important to note that due to the ease of transmission of COVID-19, lack of known cure and the stigmaassociated with the COVID-19, the use of the traditional channel to deliver mental health and psychosocial supporttherapy may not be feasible during this period. The measures taken to prevent the spread such as limitation of civilianmovement, cessation of movement in and out of some counties and in some cases within selected estates, physicaldistancing in public spaces including public transport among others may make in-person mental health andpsychosocial support untenable and ineffective.The existing technological advances provide opportunities that could be tapped to provide complementary andcomprehensive mental health and psychosocial support in Mombasa County, as experienced in other regions of theworld. Such platforms will ensure continuity of mental health therapy and timely emergency interventions for regularclients, new cases and cases directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now widely accepted thatTelecounselling has the potential of producing similar outcomes as face-to-face analysis and in-person therapy.In Mombasa County, there are no consolidated guidelines on Telecounselling for mental health and psychosocialsupport. This guideline is expected to complement the Ministry of Health Comprehensive Guide on Mental HealthPsychosocial Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Mombasa County Government issues this Guideline to enablefrontline health workers to plan, establish and coordinate a set of responses to mental health and psychosocial wellbeing where traditional therapy may be constrained during the COVID-19 pandemic.The Guideline offers essential advice on how to facilitate telephone or online therapy for mental health andpsychosocial support where in-person sessions and face-to-face psychotherapy is not immediately feasible. Theguidelines on psychological therapeutic skills, models and strategies to be used and knowledge on ethical issues areall meant to ensure that the client and the provider are both protected from both infection and litigation. GUIDELINES ON TELECOUNSELLING DURING COVID-19 MOMBASA COUNTY5The County Government would like to thank the Committee of Experts on Mental Health and Psychosocial Supportand our partners for developing this important Guideline. The County Government commits to provide thenecessary resources and logistical support to ensure that the guideline is adhered to by those providing mental healthcare using telecounselling.

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