The experience of the emergency psychologist during the Covid-19 pandemic A qualitative research

Main Article Content

Sandra Rossi
Roberta Carbone
Enrica Pedrelli
Giovanna Artioli
Anna Sozzi
Leopoldo Sarli



Abstract. Background and aim of the work: the new coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 has had a strong psy- chological impact on the world population. Volunteer psychologists, and psychologists that work in the emer- gencies have also been exposed to the consequences of the impact of the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of the psychologist during the Covid-19 emergency intervention. Methods: an exploratory study, following a qualitative design using Focus Group method was adopted. A total of 24 psychologists was recruited from volunteers of the “Pronto Pșy - Covid-19” service, organized by the Ital- ian Society of Emergency Psychology Social Support, Emilia Romagna. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) was held about: their experiences during the online psychological support; needs detected by users; training needs that emerged during the intervention and professional skills applied. Results: five themes were identi- fied: psychological distress of rescuers; online emergency setting; support of colleagues and gratitude as stress management strategies; need of skill and tools in pandemic emergency intervention; integrated psychological intervention. Discussion: the stress reaction of the emergency psychologists was due in particular to the type of emergency and lack of standardized approach. The group meetings represented an important resource to face traumatic stress. Conclusions: this study showed the role the need for specific tools for pandemic intervention to protect the well-being of the professional from impact of stress. Further research is needed.




Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 236 | PDF Downloads 144


1. Morganstein JC, Ursano RJ. Ecological Disasters and Men- tal Health: Causes, Consequences, and Interventions. Psy- chiatry. 2020; 11:1.
2. Di Giuseppe M, Zilcha-Mano S, Prout TA, et al. Psycho- logical impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 among Italians during the first week of lockdown. Frontiers in Psychiatry.2020;11.
3. Fiorillo A, Gorwood P. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and implications for clinical practice. Eur Psychiatry. 2020; 63(1).
4. Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet. 2020:14;395(10227):912-20.
5. Anderson RM, Heesterbeek H, Klinkenberg D, et al. How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?. The Lancet. 2020; 395:931- 934.
6. Wang C, Horby PW, Hayden FG, et al. A novel coro- navirus outbreak of global health concern. Lancet. 2020; 395:470–473.
7. Casagrande M, Favieri F, Tambelli R, et al. The enemy who sealed the world: effects quarantine due to the COVID-19 on sleep quality, anxiety, and psychological distress in the Italian population. Sleep Medicine. 2020; Nov 12-20.
8. Wu T, Jia X, Shi H, et al. Prevalence of mental health prob- lems during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2021; Feb 15; 281: 91-98.
9. Shultz JM, Baingana F, Neria, Y, et al. The 2014 Ebola out break and mental health: Current status and recommended response. JAMA. 2015; 313:567–8.
10. Blakey SM, Kirby AC, McClure KE, et al. Postraumatic safety behaviors: Characteristics and associations with symptom severity in two samples. Traumatology. 2019; 26 (1), 74–83.
11. Esterwood E, Saeed SA. Past epidemics, natural disasters, COVID19, and mental health: learning from history as we Deal with the present and prepare for the future. Psychiatric quarterly. 2020; Aug 16:1-3. 27.
12. Luo M, Guo L, Yu M, et al. The psychological and mental impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on medi- cal staff and general public-A systematic review and meta- analysis. Psychiatry Research. 2020; Jun 7:113190.
13. World Health Organization. (2011). Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers. World Health Organization.
14. World Health Organization. Mental health and psycho-so- cial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO. 18 March 2020
15. Anderson RM, Heesterbeek H, Klinkenberg D. How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic? The Lancet 2020; 395:931-934
16. World Health Organization: Mental health and psy- cho- social considerations during the COVID-19 out- break, 18 March 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/Mental- Health/2020.1)
17. Bauerle, A., Skoda, E.M.; Dorrie, N. Psychological support in time of COVID-19: the Essen community-based CoPE concept. Journal of Public Health. 2020; vol 42, (3): 649-650.
18. Duan L, Zhu G. Psychological interventions for people af- fected by the covid-19 epidemic. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020; Apr; 7(4): 300–302.
19. De Luca R, Calabrò R S. How the COVID-19 pandemic
is changing mental health disease management: the growing need of telecounseling in Italy. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2020; Apr 1;17(4-6):16-17.
20. Ping NPT, Shoesmith WD, James S, et al. Ultra brief psy- chological interventions for COVID-19 pandemic: intro- duction of a locally-adapted brief intervention for mental health and psychosocial support service. Malays J Med Sci. 2020; Mar 27(2):51-56.
21. Zgueb Y, Bourgou S, Neffeti A, et al. A. Psychological crisis intervention responce to COVID 19 pandemic: a Tunisian centralised protocol. Psychiatry Res. 2020; Jul; 289: 113042.
22. Jung S J, Jun JY. Mental health and psychological inter- vention amid covid-19 outbreak: perspectives from South Korea. Yonsei Med J. 2020; Apr;61(4):271-272.
23. Bäuerle A, Skoda EM, Dörrie N, et al. Psychological support in times of COVID-19: the Essen community- based CoPE concept. J Public Health (Oxf). 2020 Aug 18;42(3):649-650.
24. Al Joboory S, Monello F, Soulan X. Covid-19 : les dis- positifs de soutien psychologique. Rev Infirm. 2020; Aug- Sep;69(263):37-39.
25. Cervellione B, Rossi S, Carbone et al. The intervention of the emergency psychologist: the SIPEM SoS Emilia Ro- magna during the first lockdown from COVID-19. A ret- rospective study. Acta Biomed. 2021; 92(Suppl 2): e2021019.
26. Gruber J, Prinstein MJ, Clark LA. Mental health and clini- cal psychological science in the time of COVID-19: Chal- lenges, opportunities, and a call to action. American Psychol- ogist. 2021; 76(3), 409–426.
27. Wilkinson, S. Focus group research. In Silverman, D. (Ed.), Qualitative research: Theory, method, and practice (pp. 177–199). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,2004
28. Krueger RA, Casey MA. Focus groups: A practical guide for applied researchers (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks. CA: Sage, 2000.
29. Onwuegbuzie AJ, Dickinson WB, Leech NL. A Qualita- tive Framework for Collecting and Analyzing Data in Focus Group Research. Int J of Qual Meth. 2009; 1-21.
30. Gale NK, Heath G, Cameron E, et al. Using the framework method for the analysis of qualitative data in multi-discipli- nary health research. BMC Med Res Methl , 2013, 13, 117.
31. Sasso L, Bagnasco A, Ghirotto L. La ricerca qualitativa - Una risorsa per i professionisti della salute. Ed. Edra – Mas- son, 2015.
32. Strauss A. & Corbin, J. Basics of Qualitative Research. Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded The- ory. London: Sage. 1998.
33. Katzman JG, Tomedi LE, Everly G. First Responder Resil- iency ECHO: Innovative Telementoring during the COV- ID-19 Pandemic. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021; May 4;18(9):4900.
34. Young BH, et al. L’assistenza psicologica nelle emergenze. Manuale per operatori e organizzazioni nei disastri e nelle calamità. Ed. Hoepli, 2002.
35. Pedrelli E. “Brief Treatment in an Emergency: Methodo- logical Proposal for Functional Psychology InterventionImplemented During the COVID-19 Emergency.” Inter- national Body Psychotherapy Journal 2021; vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 105.
36. Corneil, D. W. The Psycho-Social Needs of Health Profes- sionals Providing On-Scene Disaster Care. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 1991; 6(4), 485–487.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 > >>