Cognizant of the impact of the lockdown on persons’ mental health, Critical Response Guyana -a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) ––is providing free counselling and other therapy sessions.
Under the initiative – Virtual Support Network –the counselling is being provided via phone calls, text messages or Whatsapp in keeping with social distancing measures.
Michelle Amsterdam, who is one of the mental health workers, noted that the idea is to reach out to men, women and teenagers as well as children who are forced to stay indoors with abusers.
“If the person is experiencing difficulties or they’re depressed or they don’t know how to deal with isolation or they’re not connected with family members or they may be in a high-risk environment, they can call,” Amsterdam noted.
She explained that several persons may be having mental health issues when it comes to being isolated especially if they are accustomed to being very social.
“The lockdown was one which happened suddenly and a lot of persons were not prepared for it and I think that itself can have an effect on mental health…also persons being disconnected from their social support system –family members who they will often visit or friends who they will often see –that can also have a negative effect,” she explained.
Amsterdam also referred to children who are isolated with family members who are either abusive or who they share a toxic relationship with, noting that they need most of the help they can get.
Information on the Virtual Support Network can be found on Critical Response Guyana’s Facebook page. In you having feelings of anxiety, depression, worry or fear, you are urged to call 626 4035 or 663-5414.
Sms can be sent to 684-0925 and 664-9152 while Whatsapp numbers are 683-5913 and 609-3080.
The Government implemented a curfew from 18:00hrs to 6:00hrs from April 3 to May 3. Also included in the order are restrictions on the movement of persons unless they are health, media or other essential workers.
On April 5, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres called on governments around the world to implement measures to protect the safety of women, girls, and children.
The Ministry of Social Protection’s Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Policy Unit has set up a hotline for persons who may be living with their abusers. https://newsroom.gy/2020/04/07/24-hour-hotline-safe-space-set-up-for-domestic-violence-victims-living-with-abusers/
Persons can call the 24-hour helpline at 640-1011 for assistance or a place to stay as well.