The Czech Republic is currently several weeks into a government-mandated quarantine that has banned gatherings of more than two people. While those measures may be saving lives they’ve also left many people, especially those without local family, feeling alone and adrift in an uncertain time.
Last week saw the launch of two platforms devoted to lending support to English speakers in the Czech Republic who may be experiencing anxiety and depression and seek emotional guidance and support.
One of them is the Delamcomuzu.cz (“I do what I can”) website created by the Czech Psychotherapy Association. The project is currently providing free video or telephone counseling with an English-speaking therapist.
According to therapist Silvia Miklikova of Counseling Prague, who is an advocate for the project: “From what I hear from my patients, due to the closure of sports and social facilities, the social net that served as a substitute for relatives, are not available and many are faced with total isolation, meaning they don’t have regular human-to-human interaction for several days in a row.”
Miklikova says that such circumstances can not only lead to feelings of depression, self-loathing, and anxiety but increased risky behaviors such as problematic drinking or substance abuse.
The Delamcomuzu.cz platform allows users to reach out to a qualified therapist directly via e-mail or phone. It also gives experts a platform from which to volunteer their services; there are currently 233 professionals on the site which is also accepting donations as it provides its services entirely for free.
The project is aimed at providing support, not emergency assistance, though these types of calls will be referred to helplines.
Another newly launched resource for the English-speaking community is organized by Prague Integration in association with the online therapy platform, Terap.io. The initiative has launched what it is calling “short crisis intervention sessions.”
Dr. Olga Kunertova, the CEO and founder of Terap.io, says, “There can be a long list of issues people deal with these days and they may not always look related to the restricted free movement, limited access to services, and all that is associated with the pandemic situation.”
She says that many problems and weak spots that are hiding beneath the surface during less stressful times can often “ambush” patients in times of crisis, and “leave them either paralyzed or in a state of panic.”
Professionals from the Terap.io team, as well as volunteers (psychotherapists and crisis interventionists), are currently online every day and willing to help. Thirty-minute sessions for English-speakers are offered at least four times a day.
Visit their site to register for a session.
While Dr. Olga Kunertova says that therapy is supposed to be long-term focused work, she hopes the crisis intervention is “designed to assist individuals in crisis and distress which could potentially lead to lasting trauma or risk of self-harm later in life if not taken care of properly and soon enough.”