May 27 2020

Psychological First Aid Support Instantly Removed My 50 % Worries on Coronavirus

My name is Sunita Sada. I live in Itahari sub-metropolitan city of province number 1 in the eastern part of Nepal. There are five members in my family including my husband, three daughters and myself. My husband is in Qatar, working as a security guard for 2 years to feed the family back here in Nepal. I am a house wife and look after my daughters. I have not received formal schooling but have attended the informal class run by SOS Children’s Village Itahari, while my husband studied up to class five. My elder daughter is studying in class six, younger one in class five while my youngest daughter goes to Early Childhood Development (ECD) class. 

I was not that much familiar and worried with the coronavirus until the Government declared lockdown throughout the country. I was further worried about my husband in Qatar as the disease has out broken in the world.  Nationwide lockdown that has been issued since last month has had severe impact on the life of people and mine too. Lockdown has completely halted the movement of people, only few of the shops that sell food items and medical supply are opened for a limited time. I was struggling with the shortage of vegetables, salt and other ingredients necessary for daily meal after the lockdown. I even didn’t have money to buy those items.  

Different news from various sources on the death and increment in the coverage areas of virus, was more to add to my anxiety. Various thoughts used to ponder inside me. I used to think of my husband's safety, whether he is following the precaution to be safe from COVID-19.  What if he loses his job due to virus, etc? I was devastated when one day my husband said whether he would be able to see his family back or not due to corona virus as the situation was worsening, though he was safe. We were also safe staying inside the house with my daughters following the safety measures given by the government. However, I was not mentally fit to accept the situation. I was crying and struggling from inside. I had no idea how to deal with my feelings and sufferings and to whom. I found myself helpless, as I couldn’t share what I felt with my husband too because he could be stressed. I pretended to be strong in front of him. But inside the reality was different. 


I was distressed due to the uncertainty created by the disease. I couldn't sleep well. However, in the meantime, I received a phone call from SOS Children’s Village Itahari. We managed the time for discussion in the phone call. Firstly, I was hesitant to share my feelings with social mobilizer, but he eased the situation.  

He started the normal conversation that made me open up and share my problems with him. We discussed various things such as anxiety, fear, worries, anger, etc., which, he said are normal at this time. He suggested several ways to minimize the psychological problems, for e.g. following only reliable news sources, to be strong and continue regular works. He also suggested to give time to the children, play with them and help them to study, as well as make regular conversation with the nearest ones, relatives and friends via phone. During the conversation, I grew quite positive that the pandemic would end soon and the situation normalizes.  

I further knew about how to look after the children during the time and engage them in creative works. I cried when he said not to worry much since we are behind you in any difficulties. I was not that much assured even by my relatives. I developed confident with his words. He also provided contact number of one of the members of Community Based Officers who was trained on psychosocial support. He also informed me to consult doctors via phone calls in toll free numbers.  

This support removed my 50 % worries instantly. He also informed me about the relief materials that the ward office was going to distribute. Now, the ward has distributed three rounds of relief materials including food items that I am tightly managing to my family. However, there are many families in my community who are not able to make up with the provided support as they have big family members.  

Beforehand, I used to find myself emotionally vulnerable due to the pandemic. But now, I feel myself empowered. I can manage my emotions. I am in a regular contact with my husband. He is in a good health. I have been motivating him to stay strong.  

These days, I have a sound sleep. I am giving time to my children. They read and play. The encouragement and motivation that I received from SOS Children’s Village Itahari has made me stand stronger and positive. I am grateful to SOS Children’s Village Itahari for caring me in such a dreadful situation by providing psychological support. The phone calls that I am receiving time and often from SOS Children’s Village Itahari has dramatically minimized my fear about the pandemic.  

SOS Children’s Villages Nepal has been orienting the caregivers through Psychological First Aid (PFA) to build positive coping mechanism in this times of distress. Similarly, we are also coordinating with the local government in the locations to provide food support to the families. In addition to this, we have provided 5,000/- Nepalese Rupees to the families who are affected by the current situation.