President Cyril Ramaposa announced community transmission during a national address on the 15 March 2020. Community transmission means a patient had no known contact with another confirmed case or travelled from a country badly affected by the pandemic. The South Africa government has taken strong decisive action, moving swiftly to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You can view the full speech here. There are several mitigation measures recommended that you can read about in the President’s speech.
In my practice, I have also considered issues, such as 1) physical distancing (6 ft/2 metres); 2) hand-washing/sanitization; 3) precautionary self-isolation only if there is perceived exposure (there are guidelines for these).
People experience situations such as these in different ways. I have written an article about this process for Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, which can be found here: https://bit.ly/2U9y5Rv
In light of this context, I have re-organised my practice to ensure that I protect clients and in so doing, can also continue psychotherapy.
- I’m offering online psychotherapy for any new clients who would like to practice social distancing. For several years, I have practised online therapy, providing it to clients who are travelling, living in rural areas of South Africa or in countries abroad. The American Psychology Association (APA) is recommending that these online therapeutic services are broadened to all clients to ensure continuity of care for those choosing to practice social distancing or self-isolating.
- Social solidarity: While “social distancing” is being used, the precautionary measures are about physical distancing. There are still many ways to keep socially connected. Please feel free to reach out at any time. Many people are experiencing anxiety about Covid-19. These feelings are normal, but nevertheless distressing. Let me know if you would like to speak through some of these feelings — we’re in this together! Read about the importance of social connection here: https://bit.ly/2U9y5Rv
- Re-connection: People are downloading a lot of information about Covid-19 at this moment. Find moments to switch off from this barrage of information. Perhaps taking an hour a day without devices around you. Are sitting in stillness on your porch or in your Garden or nearest park. There are opportunities to reconnect to life in times like these. A lover of nature, I can highly recommend taking a walk in some of the countries beautiful parks, read a book, work in the garden or tend to those pot plants. There are many psychological benefits of spending time in nature.
- The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) have provided a list of helpful tips and links to information that you may find helpful during this time, including information about hotlines, Whatsapp lines, etc. You can access this information here: http://www.sadag.org
- Knowledge is power: Here are also some reliable links where you can access more information about COVID-19:
- National Department of Health Covid-19 Hotline: 0800 029 999 or online: http://www.health.gov.za or on twitter: https://twitter.com/HealthZA
- National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) online http://www.nicd.ac.za and on twitter https://twitter.com/nicd_sa
- Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism online: https://bhekisisa.org and on twitter: https://twitter.com/Bhekisisa_MG