With the announcement of the state of emergency in Albania, due to the pandemic, access to mental health and health services became extremely limited. As a result, more and more people from different age groups chose to seek help through the online counselling platform of mental health organisation Foundation Together Albania (FTA), which is a member of Mental Health Europe.
The fear of infection and social isolation had a severe impact on the mental health of the population. With the financial support of Leviz Albania, Foundation Together Albania launched an Online Emergency Intervention to provide 24/7 mental health support to those in need. Within 2 weeks of the lockdown in March 2020, the platform saw an increase of up to 50% in demand for mental health support.
Problems that were reported and reasons to seek professional support were related to an increased state of shock, anxiety, panic, fear, depression, fear of loss of life or loss of a relative, and job loss. In addition, an increase of cases of domestic violence and addiction was noticed.
During this intervention, FTA’s online counselling service directly helped 2537 persons. On top of that, more than 160.000 were supported indirectly through articles and live streams providing practical coping strategies for youth to maintain and protect mental health.