HCMC to launch mental health care program amid lockdown

By Le Phuong   September 4, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
HCMC to launch mental health care program amid lockdown
Streets in HCMC are nearly devoid of traffic amid Covid-19 social distancing orders, August 23, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
A mental health care program would be launched in HCMC amid worrying impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, both physically and psychologically.

The "vaccine for the mind" program, to be launched Sunday, is expected to last until the end of 2022, though it could be longer depending on how the pandemic progresses, Ngo Thi Phuong Lan, headmistress of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, said Friday.

The program would entail three goals: improving overall mental health, mental health counseling and therapy, and post-Covid rehabilitation, she added.

"The school wants to collaborate with the city to push back on Covid-19, reassuring people's mind," she said.

To improve mental health, the program would provide counseling for people who have signs of anxiety, stress and other psychological distresses, but do not yet show pathological symptoms. It could be provided through online conferences, radio sessions or directly offered through hotlines.

The program is also expected to help 15-20 percent of people with anxiety, depression, trauma regarding Covid-19 and suicidal thoughts. It would collaborate with the municipal Department of Health and hospitals to provide counseling for patients treated in such locations.

To rehabilitate people toward a post-Covid life, the program would help them find resources to help themselves through information about jobs, self-development and learning, along with other governmental assistance programs.

Amid Covid-19 worries and extended lockdown orders, mental health issues have been reported to be on the rise across the globe, which include depression, stress, anxiety and even suicidal tendencies.

An August report by the Psychology Department of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities said people have been experiencing signs of anxiety, stress, boredom, mood swings and insomnia, among others, amid social distancing orders.

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