Jambi (ANTARA) - Members of the Indonesian Psychological Association (Himpsi) in Jambi are offering counseling services over phone and online as part of efforts to minimize public anxiety amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

"If people feel anxious about the spread of and various reports on COVID-19, and they need professional help to minimize their anxiety, we are ready to provide services online," Chairperson of Jambi Himpsi Nofrans Eka Saputra said in Jambi on Thursday.

He said the consultations will be conducted, free of charge, via telephone, WhatsApp, and short message service. The counseling services are part of Jambi Himpsi’s efforts to help the community deal with the stress created by the pandemic, he added.

The goal, he continued, is to help reduce anxiety, and it is hoped that those who benefit from counseling will share the psychological tips they receive with others.

The association has appointed psychologists to provide the services daily. Information about the initiative is being disseminated through leaflets and social media posts, which also provide the contact numbers of psychologists on duty.

"This service is online only. That way it can be accessed by people without having to meet in person, in accordance with the social distancing measures implemented by the government in efforts to combat COVID-19," said Saputra, who is also heading the Psychology Studies Program at the Jambi University's Medical School.

He said he believed it is important for people to be able to manage their emotions, especially concerns, anxiety, and stress in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that communities have begun to show signs of panic, which needs to be addressed as it could add to the pressure of handling COVID-19.

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Translator: Syarif Abdullah/Aria Cindyara
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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