I understood that it was a big challenge and I accepted it.
The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning when I heard that the Georgia Red Cross was looking for psychologists to work as hotline operators. At that period, the demand for psychosocial support was significantly increased – people in difficult situations needed to share emotions and get the useful information which gives them right directions in pandemic
I am a psychologist by profession and immediately felt that this was a unique opportunity for me as practitioner to help people in need and at the same time to pursue my profession as intensely as ever.
The Pandemic as an Opportunity for Self-Development
At first we all started fighting the pandemic. But a pandemic is not a phenomenon that ends with a single stroke (that’s a fact). Because the variants of the infection are constantly changing, I think we should try to adapt to the situation and live life to the fullest.
Personally, I tried to go that route and seize the opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is obvious that the boom of virtual communication platforms and online learning resources started only when we faced the pandemic and needed to isolate. So I decided to follow the trend and use this time for self-development.
During this period of social distancing, I was able to enroll in the training programs of the world’s leading universities and professional associations. I was actively involved in online discussions and forums and it helped a great deal.
It is really challenging to receive a continuous flow of calls during the day, to express sufficient empathy towards each beneficiary, and at the same time not to cross a line. In this case, it is critical to avoid the risks of burnout and maintain the capacity of work until the end of every working day.
That is why we as hotline operators meet with colleagues on a regular basis. We arrange online consultations where we discuss complex cases and our responses to them. We review the most common referrals and highly effective methods and tools to maintain the psycho-emotional stability.
My first advice to newly employed colleagues: Put all of your energy and diligence into your work. Make sure you listen to each beneficiary until the end and provide adequate and effective assistance to them. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction and completeness and maximally protect you from stress and fatigue.
501 105 – This is the Red Cross hotline number that anyone can call.
Calls come mainly from social assistance seekers. During the pandemic the number of calls made due to mental issues has increased. It is our duty to provide them with first aid. And in case of need to direct them to the special mental health institutions or programs.
Among the incoming calls are many citizens who need urgent medical care. At the same time they are left in affected territory and are unable to reach the capital. We try to help them best possible.
Now, in the context of the ongoing war in our neighboring country, Ukrainian citizens in Georgia who seek necessary information and need psychological support, can also contact us.