Providing immediate digital mental health interventions and psychotrauma support during political crises.
Javakhishvili J., Makhashvili N., Winkler P., Votruba N., van Voren R.
We describe the development and provision of a digital mental health intervention and trauma support platform for victims of political and social repression in Belarus. The Samopomoch platform provides secure and effective support tailored to the needs of such victims, and individuals are provided with access to the service via a modern, encrypted, and protected communication platform. The service involves personal health tracking (e-mental health self-screening), targeted and untargeted client communication (psychoeducation and self-help information), and psychological counselling sessions. The Samopomoch platform is also collecting evidence to show the effectiveness of the service and proposes a model for replication in similar settings. To our knowledge, this is the first immediate digital mental health-care response to a political crisis, and the high needs and increasing demand for this service within the targeted population indicate the necessity for its continuation and scaling-up. We urge policy makers to provide immediate responses for establishing digital mental health interventions and psychological trauma support.