Psychological Interventions for COVID-19 Outbreak in Mazandaran Province, Iran


Abdolkarim Ahmadi 1 , Ideh Ghafour ORCID 1 , * , Seyed Hamzeh Hosseini 1 , Mahmoudreza Hashemvarzi 2

1 Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Addiction Institute, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

2 Vice-Chancellor of Treatment Affairs, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

How to Cite: Ahmadi A, Ghafour I, Hosseini S H, Hashemvarzi M. Psychological Interventions for COVID-19 Outbreak in Mazandaran Province, Iran, Arch Clin Infect Dis. Online ahead of Print ; 15(2):e103415. doi: 10.5812/archcid.103415.


Archives of Clinical Infectious Diseases: 15 (2); e103415
Published Online: May 10, 2020
Article Type: Letter
Received: April 5, 2020
Accepted: April 22, 2020
Copyright © 2020, Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Technical and Executive Strategies

At first, with regard to technical and executive strategies, the formation of the crisis management task force was prioritized. The next step was to convey the strategies via correspondence with the university’s vice-chancellors, healthcare provider network administrators, and the province’s hospital chiefs. Correspondence was also made with organizations involved in psychological interventions. Besides, the provincial education committee held a meeting to teach crisis intervention teams. Afterward, leveled training packages with the content of crisis intervention and stress management were designed and prepared, which were then gradually distributed among the affiliated units. At the same time, experiences from other universities and countries were exploited. In addition, the planning process was completed, and cooperation agreements were negotiated for the national and provincial research. In the subsequent step, psychological intervention teams were virtually organized in healthcare provider networks, hospitals, teaching centers, and related schools. Consistently, there were interactions with other organizations such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the State Welfare Organization of Iran, and the Governor’s Office, as well as organizations, volunteered to participate in the given program.

2. Intervention Strategies and Control Measures

The telephone follow-up of positive cases of COVID-19 based on reports from the Integrated Health Record System (also called SIB System) was among the measures taken in this regard. The patients were additionally referred to a mental health expert for psychological training and empowerment. Telephone counseling with the family of the deceased as well as post-quarantine in-person counseling for psychological interventions for the grief treatment was further accessible. Additionally, telephone counseling was provided through 123, 1480, and 4030 as emergency services hotlines through a national system in cooperation with the State Welfare Organization of Iran. To this end, psychologists, psychiatrists, and some private centers volunteering to provide mental health services were connected to 4030. Mental health status assessment of healthcare providers and treatment staff was among the other measures taken. Stress management training was thus available for the treatment team. Likewise, there was the possibility of in-person counseling for healthcare providers and health staff. The reduction of working hours was further respected as a priority for health staff. It was correspondingly planned to minimize job burnout. Finally, a checklist was developed to monitor and evaluate the performance of experts and crisis intervention teams. Feedback was also set up and sent to the relevant units.



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