Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. Considerations Among Frontline Healthcare Workers in Cameroon
Mental health as a valued source of wellbeing can be maintained and fostered by efficient psychosocial support, especially during a crisis. It consists of core values like realizing one’s abilities, overcoming daily life challenges, living a productive life and contributing to one’s community. It is one of the most neglected domain of public health in Cameroon; hence, the mental health of Frontline healthcare workers as emergency responders during the COVID-19 outbreak was a major concern to us. Beside the neglect, there is little or no understanding of mental health issues, coupled with ills like stigmatization and discrimination. The advent and the precarious spread of the novel COVID-19 generated a sense of vulnerability and triggered the exacerbation of underlying psychological disturbances especially among this population. These disturbances are characterized by troubled thoughts, emotions, behaviors and relationships with others. They can manifest in diverse forms, typically in accordance with the WHO’s ICD or APA’s DSM. Thus, some forms include: anxiety, acute stress, depression… These entities could originate from individual attributes as well as the social circumstances (and environment) in which people find themselves. Since these determinants interact dynamically and could threaten or protect mental health, it was necessary to pinpoint certain psychosocial support considerations for this group. This involved non-specialized interventions that would encourage self-care as well as promote team care.