The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented levels of disruption worldwide. In addition to the direct impact of the virus on human health, the impact on social, emotional, and economic well-being is tremendous and will only continue to grow.
At the Friendship Bench, we remain committed to providing sustainable community-based mental health services through this time of increased social isolation and uncertainty. Below are a few of the ways we are working to safely support to our communities right now:
COVID INFORMATION: We are publishing a wide range of informational materials on our website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and through webinars. These resources share more about the virus and how to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by this crisis. You can share all materials with your families, friends, and communities in print or digitally.
FB OPEN LINE: We are currently providing free talk therapy through the “Friendship Bench open line”, which offers one-on-one support with a trained counselor over the phone using or text messaging. Please call +263784-845-294 to learn more. We are developing a manualized FB phone counselling training module which will be offered digitally alongside with our traditional FB training.
DIGITAL PLATFORM: In parallel, we are also working to shift our program delivery to a digital platform that will enable a broad number of counselors to be trained and more clients to receive care through a text-based messaging platform.
We will continue to prioritize delivering access to mental health at the highest level, to the greatest number of people. Our vision is to have a Friendship Bench within walking distance for everyone. We believe that many of the shifts that we are making to accommodate the realities of COVID-19 will also strengthen our work and our capacity to deliver on this vision over the long term.
As always, be kind to your mind (be extra kind during this time of uncertainty), accept the change and be open to a new way of being.
Much love and cyber hugs for all who want :)
The Friendship Bench team.