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More than 8,313 people access online mental health support tool in the past month

MSF's online mental health support tool helps people to deal with their emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nairobi, Kenya – In the month since Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launched an online mental health support tool to help people to deal with their emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 8,313 people have logged on to receive support. The organisation is urging all those in need of mental health tips to go to the MSF website, where the tool is free and available for anyone to use.

"We’re not surprised that so many people have logged on looking for support," said Nancy Nyambura, staff psychologist for MSF who delivers advice via the tool. "From our experience in epidemics and outbreaks we know that they have consequences for people’s mental health, and the prolonged and uncertain nature of COVID-19 was sure to have damaging implications."

Through the tool, people can select the emotion they are experiencing and receive tailored advice to help you to take action to deal with that emotion in a positive way.

It contains advice for the most common emotions people are likely to feel during the pandemic, which are sadness, anxiety, loneliness, fear, frustration, stress and negativity. It also includes tips for helping people to cope with the reality of working from home.

"We want people to know that it is normal to have emotional reactions at a time like this," says Nancy. "And by reading through other people’s stories we hope people will feel that they are not alone. We hope the tips we provide will also help people to cope better."

Amongst the advice provided by the tool is how to deal with anxiety. Through sharing the story of Linda, who is struggling to sleep and constantly checking news and social media to try to find out about the situation, Nancy explains that people need to take small breaks, to appreciate the world around them, and that constantly monitoring for updates can lead to an increase in stress, rather than a decrease. She also explains that looking outwards, and the simple act of smiling at others, can help you not to take the situation too seriously.

The tool will be available for as long as it is needed by those impacted during the pandemic and is accessible via this link: https://bit.ly/MHchatbot 

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) which provides medical care and humanitarian assistance, including those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, is also looking to provide mental health support to people during the pandemic.

As well as providing mental health support during the pandemic, MSF is adapting its projects in more than 70 countries around the world, as well as launching new programs to specifically target the COVID-19 virus in hotspot countries.

Keywords

COVID-19 Coronavirus

Most of the world's countries have reported cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19 and MSF teams in over 70 countries are now racing to respond to the pandemic.  

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