Long queues developing for psychologists due to coronavirus

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Tartu University Hospital psychiatric clinic. Source: ERR

Mental health specialists worried are worried about the effects of the coronavirus restrictions as queues for psychologists are already extraordinarily long and there is a lack of resources for those that need help.

Speaking about the reasons for the increase in interest, the Estonian Psychologists' Union President Kariina Laas said that on the one hand, people are now turning to psychologists more and more and on the other side, there are more need for help during the stressful time of the pandemic.

"The queues are months-long in private companies. This is the first half of the year. It used to be that during the first half of the year, a month [waiting list] was the maximum and the second half of the year was longer. Currently, it seems like the second half of the year is already here," Laas told ETV current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) on Sunday.

Laas said there are not enough therapists to meet demand.

Discussing who is most in need of help, she said that parents are stressed due to distance learning but the situation has the biggest impact on risk groups.

AK also spoke to Tartu St. Mary congregation's pastor Lea Saar who said that during the last year, it has not been possible to go to the library or church service and other public events and this can have severe effects.

"Understandably it can increase along loneliness. And when families cannot come and see the elderly, the feeling of loneliness is so deep people feel they don't want to live anymore," Saar said.

There are support groups under the St. Mary Congregation, such as a mourning group and a parent training group, which will not take place this spring due to group activity restrictions. Now pastors have started calling the elderly themselves. Although one-on-one counseling can be done according to the restrictions, private clinics are also increasingly moving online.

"A little more energy still needs to be put into counseling. More energy still needs to be given through the screen. But it is still good to give counseling online," Laas said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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