The COVID-19 pandemic came as a shock to the entire world. It disrupted all the systems that keep our lives in order and stirred chaos and uncertainty. Markets crashed and people lost their jobs, creating financial insecurity. We bid farewell to those near and dear to us, losing our primary support systems. Countries went into lockdown, as we got restricted from our recreational outlets. To top it off, the healthcare system broke down, leaving our physical and mental health vulnerable.
At this time of emergency, Saaya Health made a commitment to help the people of Pakistan. We joined hands with the organizations Taskeen, British Asian Trust, Sehat Kahani, Aga Khan University, and IRD to dedicate resources towards the mental health needs of Pakistani people.
Under this initiative, Saaya Health offered the following free of cost services to cater to the psychological and social needs of laypeople, patients suffering from COVID-19, and frontline workers:
We used social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to disseminate short videos and online webinars that reached thousands of people across Pakistan and in other countries. The aim of these online resources was to spread awareness and educate people about mental wellbeing and coping skills that they could use during the COVID-19 lockdown to reduce the mental health impact. Anyone with an internet connection who understood Urdu or English could access the knowledge imparted through these videos. Our webinars reached approximately 30,000 people globally and the 14 videos on YouTube have an average reach of 4000.
At the Expo Centre COVID-19 quarantine in Karachi, Saaya Health imparted mental health education via trainings and workshops, and facilitated sessions where coping skills such as expressive art, mindfulness meditation, and poetry could be practiced. These activities were geared towards frontline workers and the patients who were battling COVID-19. Additionally, we trained frontline workers at Expo Centre in Emotional First Aid so that they could offer basic mental health support and psychological first aid to their patients. At Dow University Karachi, we trained health workers to identify and prevent burnout while caring for terminally ill patients. Through these interventions, we reached 203 doctors and 81 patients.
This initiative is one of the ways in which Saaya Health has worked towards lessening the mental health impact of COVID-19. Stay tuned to our blogs to read about the other initiatives.
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Mental Health issues are on the rise. According to the mental health foundation, 1 in 8 adults receives mental health treatment.