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Social Inclusion of Elderly People With Mental Health Problems During The Covid-19 Epidemic In The Altra Ngo

Suzana Oreški

Introduction: The outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has significantly interfered with the implementation of mental health activities carried out by the non-governmental organization Altra. The period of the first declaration of the epidemic with COVID-19 was followed by the complete closure of the state and the closure of social protection programs. We have adapted working methods and forms of assistance literally “overnight”, in order to continue, but also more intensively, provide psychosocial assistance and support to people with long-term mental health problems. Adjustments have required that traditional psychosocial care approaches, which are otherwise implemented "live", be replaced by the provision of ICT. The purpose of this paper is to present the importance of ICT technology on the social inclusion of older people with mental health problems, in the NGO Altra, during the first wave of the epidemic with COVID-19.

Methodology: The research was conducted by the quantitative method; data are collected by the method of surveys and descriptive statistics, in March 2020 and in January 2022, and comprise a sample of 38 users aged 55 and over.

Results: The use of ICT, most of which included telephone counseling, zoom workshops and other zoom group forms of work, allowed users to maintain contact with members, friends, employees; engaging in various group and individual activities, relieving their personal distress and problems. Users used various devices to use the services. Those who not use any od devices, assistance was provided in person or more intensively via mobile phone.

Discussion: The uncertain and innovative-experimental period of ICT testing quickly proved to be a response to the needs of our target group. Combined forms of assistance; live and with the help of ICT technologies are still present and effective mostly in situations when users are unable to establish personal contacts or participate in group dynamics.



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