The National Order of Psychologists of Madagascar, in partnership with some international NGOs, has made available to the population, since October 2020, a free number for people traumatized by the coronavirus pandemic. The service was originally designed, according to the president of the National Order of Psychologists, Koloina Andrianilaina, for the families of the sick, but it was eventually extended to patients cured, hospitalized, and bereaved families.
Madagascar is aware of the devastating effect that the psychosis born of the pandemic can have on health. It is also providing psychological support to communities by providing a toll-free number for people traumatized by Covid-19. “We have seen a resurgence of mental disorders. Especially signs of anxiety, anxiety, insomnia, depression on the part of our callers. This may be due to containment but also to the economic problems we Malagasy encountered during the peak of the pandemic in Madagascar.Post-traumatic stress is still there,” said Mihaja Rabenoro, one of six clinical psychologists involved in the project.
“There have been people who have seen their loved ones suffer, or die, and there’s all the psychosis built around the fact that it’s a deadly disease, so the fact that you’re confined, and then after you screw up…. It created a lot of panic attacks. When we saw that there were a lot of people who needed to be listened to, after what they went through during that period, whether they were sick or sick families, we thought it was important to put this line for everyone, it should be free and accessible to all people regardless of their socio-professional category,” she added.
On the 902, people in a state of trauma have the possibility to confide in professionals from 9h to 18h, Monday to Friday. Since mid-December and the rumours of a second lockdown, the number of calls has continued to grow. The line remains open until at least next September.