BRAC launches telecounselling service for coronavirus-related stress

BRAC, Psychological Health & Wellness Clinic (PHWC) and emotional support and suicide prevention hotline Kaan Petey Roi, have launched 'Moner Jotno Mobile E', a tele-counselling platform to provide emergency counselling support for citizens experiencing distress, frustration and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The service was launched on Monday and will be available across the country. The organisers of the service said any citizen, irrespective of gender and socio-economic background, will be able to seek support for the stress and frustration which may have arisen from the situation caused by the spread of novel coronavirus.

The hotline number 01709-817179 will be open from 8am till 12 midnight. Counsellors will directly answer calls from persons in distress.

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Erum Mariam, executive director, BRAC Institute of Educational Development, said, "This collaborative effort aims at helping those who are experiencing a state of stress and anxiety in this unusual situation. Lockdowns, long stay at home and other social distancing measures enforced to contain the spread of the virus are causing confusion and distress among many of us, while many others are anxious about losing jobs. Expert counselling from platforms such as 'Moner Jotno Mobile E', which combines the expertise of BRAC, PHWC, and Kaan Petey Roi, can provide essential mental support to suffering individuals, so that they can better tackle this crisis and inspire a sense of hopefulness for future.”

Under 'Moner Jotno Mobile E' initiative, a team of 28 psychologists and counsellors, trained in general psychology, counselling psychology and clinical psychology, will directly attend to the callers whose full confidentiality will be ensured. The professionals will provide an empathetic and comfortable space in which the callers will feel heard, valued and respected as well as encouraged to confide their distresses, enabling them to feel less isolated and separated.

Organisers also said remote counselling using telephone is being globally advocated by experts, especially in a time of lockdowns such as the current pandemic, when people are often unable to get out of home to seek support.

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Under 'Moner Jotno Mobile E' initiative, a team of 28 psychologists and counsellors, trained in general psychology, counselling psychology and clinical psychology, will directly attend to the callers whose full confidentiality will be ensured. The professionals will provide an empathetic and comfortable space in which the callers will feel heard, valued and respected as well as encouraged to confide their distresses, enabling them to feel less isolated and separated. Telecounsellors will also support them with wellbeing tips, exercises and suggestions, which will hopefully ease their distress and anxiety.

The organisers further noted that if any caller expresses that they have symptoms of COVID-19, or manifests more serious psychological distress, they will be referred to other respective government-approved services for further attention and treatment.