Ukrainian-language psychological aid program “Samopomich”
In September 2020, immediately after the political crisis in Belarus began, FGIP started to build a digital health support platform for Belarus called ‘Samopomoch’ (which means ‘self-help’ in Russian). This platform was built together with the National Institute for Mental Health, Czechia (NIMH CZ, https://www.nudz.cz/en), and the Global Initiative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi (GIP-Tbilisi) (https://www.gip-global.org/organization/fgip-member-organizations/global-initiative-on-psychiatry-tbilisi) with the aim to provide psychological support to Belarusian citizens, particularly activists and human right defenders. The elements of the program are as following:
- A website samopomo.ch with its rich resources for self-help and self-orientation, has been programmed in a way that includes multiple protection against hacking, and uses SSL encryption.
- FB page for disseminating mental health-related information (www.facebook.com/samopomoch).
- Signal and Telegram (https://t.me/samopomoch) channels for messaging, voice and video calls for more personalized content sharing.
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Counselling digital service for addressing trauma-related mental health needs.
Counselling is provided regularly by a team of 18 counsellors, who have been carefully selected based on references from trustworthy colleagues (who are part of the FGIP network of experts). All counsellors are certified mental health professionals in full commitment to the ethical principles and standards of mental health care delivery. The counselling entails free-of-charge online individual sessions, where trauma-informed and trauma-focused care is provided. Approximately 60% of the clients/beneficiaries are referred from the human rights referral organizations; around 20% have self- referred via the Samopomoch website, and others have been referred from other clients. Data is collected at entry-point, at a discharge time and during a follow up session. The average length of the course is app. 8 sessions (45-60 min. once per week).
The website and social media resources are available for all interested.