ALBERTO AZCARATE VARELA
THE BAJA POST/NEWSROOM
In order to face and mitigate the psychological issues unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support people in crisis, following the recommendations of social distancing and protocols indicated by health authorities, the Guide of Virtual Psychological Care for people from vulnerable groups in crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic (GAPV-COVID19).
Daniela Díaz Flores, Professor at the School of Psychology in CETYS University, Mexicali Campus, was represented in this project developed by a group of 13 psychology specialists, from nationally recognized universities, such as the University of Guanajuato, the Autonomous University of State of Mexico, Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, the Institute of Social Security of the State of Mexico and Municipalities, the Autonomous University of Nayarit and the Autonomous University of Baja California.
The group of professionals worked on the development of the GAPV-COVID19 with the support of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), through project 312728, Preparation and evaluation of a Virtual Psychological Care Guide for people from vulnerable groups in crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic, granted in May 2020 in the 2020/01 call for support for scientific research projects, technological development and innovation in health in the face of the COVID-19 contingency, explained the CETYS Professor.
“This type of call allows professionals from different disciplines to develop projects and programs for the benefit of the Mexican population. Especially, the GAPV-COVID19 was born as a tool for mental health professionals, which systematizes the process of virtual psychological care, contributing to the study of the effectiveness of the use of virtual psychotherapy in care in crisis in the context of restrictions of physical contact, through counseling services, psychoeducation, psychological first aid and brief cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. All this in order to restore emotional balance and the development of protective factors”.
This is how, led by Master Aimée Argüero Fonseca, Research Professor at the Autonomous University of Nayarit, and communicated thanks to previous experiences of doctoral training, the group began to design the protocol that today is implemented through a psychological care service offered nationwide.
One of the first actions of this project was to start training on the use of the guide to 104 students and professionals in psychology during September 2020, through video calls, benefiting mental health personnel located in Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Baja California, State of Mexico, Aguascalientes and Nayarit, and transcending borders to Chile, Costa Rica and Colombia, hoping that its protocol will be replicated in the largest number of institutions possible.
Although there are many telepsychology services, and many of them have been developed since the health emergency of 2020, the GAPV was developed based on detailed studies and research, making it highly reliable to evaluate the results and the effectiveness of the service, thus as the well-being of its users.
Currently, GAPV-COVID19 services are offered in four stages or levels. In the first, the user is channeled towards the care that is appropriate to their needs. In the second, a psychological and psychoeducational counseling service is offered.
During the third phase, crisis care is given, while those who access the fourth level receive a brief process of tele-psychological cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, available throughout Mexico by calling 800 999 0800, line 3, from Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time.
Satisfied with what has been achieved so far, the group of GAPV-COVID19 developers hope that more and more health professionals and students will consult and put into practice the protocols in this guide.
“This will allow us to see and adapt it to the needs of each population, based on the suggestions that they can make. In addition, working with other universities allows creating networking, a connection network to work on projects in the future, and exchange learning experiences between professors”, concluded Mtra. Daniela Diaz.