Covid-19 Updates from Beck Institute’s International Advisory Committee: Part 2

Beck Institute

Last week, we shared updates
from International Advisory Committee members in the UK, Romania, Australia,
Brazil and the Netherlands. This week, committee members from six more
countries write about how the pandemic and related social distancing measures
are impacting mental health in their countries and how they’ve been helping. We
are pleased to share the following updates and related resources.


Antonella Montano, PhD, shares her perspective from Italy,
one of the hardest-hit nations and one of the first to go on country-wide

In Italy, the situation is still
very serious. The number of inpatients at the hospitals is slightly decreasing,
but the number of people infected is not decreasing as much. Masks are
difficult to obtain, as well as any other medical equipment. Some of my
patients, who are MDs and are infected, are scared. The other ones are, as
everyone else, worried, especially for economic reasons and scenarios that will
happen soon. The economic situation in Italy was difficult even before
COVID-19. I think that one of the most useful things for therapists is to
deepen their knowledge of COVID, from a medical point of view, and its ways of spreading,
in order to be informed and give correct information to clients.


Dmitrii Kovpak, MD, has been actively involved in
disseminating information about how CBT can help people suffering from anxiety
and depression during the pandemic, both in his native Russia and around the
world. In addition to interacting with the media, he has organized free
webinars, and distributed a children’s book about COVID-19. He writes:

Many people are seriously concerned and fear for their health and future
and the health and life of their elderly relatives. People fear losing their
jobs and the means to maintain their previous standard of living. There are a
large number of complaints about anxiety, and we try to support our anxious and
depressed patients in these difficult days with information, resources, and
webinars. [To help clients, clinicians need] more information and guidance
materials on dealing with anxiety and fear of illness and the future, including
economic crisis, upheaval, job loss, and hunger.

Below are two articles Dr. Kovpak was
interviewed for (in Russian) and a helpful diagram he created (in English):

Panic Can Cause a Decrease in Immunity

Are We Afraid of Coronavirus?

Do I Want to Be During COVID-19?


Yutaka Ono, MD, shares the following update from Japan:

After the government declared the
state of emergency, the number of people in the city of Tokyo became half and
most people wear face masks. We became very conscious about social distancing
recently. Because the restriction is not strict in Japan, our daily life has
not changed so much. However, the owners and workers of small shops and
restaurants appear to have a difficult time. Members of our association are working
hard to help patients, because many patients became anxious and depressive. I
have created videos and written articles in the newspaper to teach people how
to handle anxiety and depression using CBT techniques. I also shared a CBT
chatbot for free during this difficult period.


Gregoris Simos, MD, PhD, writes from Greece:

The situation in Greece is probably one of the best in
Europe, since we had a lockdown quite early and consequently the number of new
cases daily is very small and almost steady. We hope that it will remain like
this in the next couple of very critical weeks. Our Greek Association for
Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapies and I are trying to be as active as we can
in our effort to help our fellow Greeks, since both the COVID-19 as well the
lockdown and the social distancing situations are so anxiety, anger,
frustration and depression-provoking.

The recording of Dr. Simos’s livestream presentation with
other board members of the Greek Association for Cognitive Behavioral
Psychotherapies can be watched here (in Greek):

Living with


Jianping Wang, MD, PhD, visited the US in mid-January and
has been unable to return to China due to travel restrictions. Despite that, she
has been actively involved in the mental health response in China, which has
been conducted online. She writes:

As a member of the Standing Committee,
Professional Committee of Clinical Psychology of Chinese Psychological Society,
I personally participated in responding to COVID-19 as a mental health
professional and I have been busy with psychological assistance-related work. I
am the Chief Supervisor of the nationwide psychological assistance hotline
against COVID-19 operated by Beijing Normal University where I serve as
Professor. I am also on the expert team for the hotline service designated by
Chinese National Education Department. During this pandemic, I provided free
psychological/CBT real time lectures and trainings on various media. Currently
I am organizing a project to train Grief Counselors to serve those bereaved who
lost their loved ones to COVID-19 in China. This project operated under the
Group of Grief and Bereavement of the Chinese Psychological Society. We have
established a professional team in the shortest time possible to help.

Several of her online training videos (in Mandarin) can be
accessed below:

a Psychological Epidemic

and Coping with Bereavement

and Techniques of Grief Counseling

She also shared an article from Peking University Sixth
Hospital/Institute of Mental Health, outlining China’s experience with the
mental health response to COVID-19 (in Chinese):

Experience with the Mental Health Response to COVID-19


David A. Clark, PhD, writes that although his immediate area
in a semi-rural part of eastern Canada has been relatively unaffected by
COVID-19, life is still very different:

We are not allowed to offer
in-person sessions so we have all switched to teletherapy sessions.  At this point, only about half of my clients
have been willing to make the switch. 
The other half decided to hold off on their therapy sessions for a
while.  This may change as the social
restrictions continue but my sense is that people are focused on the new
reality and some of the personal issues that contributed to their treatment
seeking have become less urgent. I’m writing a weekly bulletin for my former
and current clients, and other interested individuals, that summarizes a couple
of key issues and also provides 1-2 links to resources that I think are
particularly helpful. So this week I’m focusing on how to think about our
social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions and some key points we can
learn from the research on continuous trauma. I also have a regular blog with
Psychology Today that deals with specific topics. Last week’s blog dealt with
Living with Uncertainty.

Dr. Clark’s Psychology Today blog can be found here:

with Uncertainty During COVID-19

Find more resources on our COVID-19 resource bank.

The post Covid-19 Updates from Beck Institute’s International Advisory Committee: Part 2 appeared first on Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

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