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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 150-158

Designing Psychosocial Support for COVID-19 Frontline Responders in Pakistan: A Potentially Scalable Self-Help Plus Blueprint for LMICs

1 Senior Technical Advisor for Mental Health, Mental Health Coordination Unit, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Government of, Pakistan
2 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Fazaia Medical College, Islamabad, Pakistan
3 Associate Professor of Psychiatry, ANMCH, Isra University, Islamabad, Pakistan
4 MS Clinical Psychology, Meditrina Healthcare, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Asma Humayun
Senior Technical Advisor for Mental Health, Mental Health Coordination Unit, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Government of Pakistan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_21_20

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As part of its COVID emergency response, the Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has promulgated its first ever Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) initiative. Supported by UNICEF, this initiative will be piloted in Pakistan’s federal capital in coordination with other government ministries. The core feature of this initiative is a web-based integrated system that provides MHPSS interventions at multiple levels, including psychosocial support to frontline responders. For this purpose, we developed a self-help tool, MyCare+, to help users assess and manage their own stress, and to consult a counsellor if needed. It is a comprehensive, evidence-driven, confidential application adapted to local needs and consolidates clinical data for further trend analysis. It is a practical, instructed self-guide for assessment and management of stress-related conditions in the field that is based on existing evidence, thus bridging a gap. Overall, the user feedback was positive for the English and Urdu versions of MyCare+, as they found the content relevant and helpful. More than 90% of users were able to follow the instructions and felt confident to use the tool. This article outlines a blueprint for developing this toolkit, which can be easily translated into regional languages and scaled up for supporting larger populations. Key implications for practice
  • An evidence-driven, resource effective, potentially scalable solution is presented to support the frontline responders in the COVID-19 public health crisis in LMICs.
  • A hybrid approach is followed that offers a self-help digital solution, supplemented by person to person contact with mental health professionals.
  • The tool is designed to help conduct individual assessments and set personalised treatment goals to support frontline workers.

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