On January 28, the MOE issued a notice requiring education authorities across the country to organize expert teams to provide mental health services to people affected by the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
The notice calls on local education authorities to regard psychological intervention as an important part of its preventive and control measures against the 2019-nCoV-related pneumonia and take actions quickly. It requests them to follow the example of Beijing Normal University (BNU) and establish expert teams with core members chosen from local universities with the best psychology faculties or counseling services and other members selected from other universities, to provide hotline and online mental health support. It also encourages psychology departments in universities with adequate resources or national psychological counseling service centers to provide such services independently.
In addition, the notice also requires that capacity building activities be organized to train counselors in accordance with emergency psychological crisis intervention guidelines issued by the National Health Commission on January 26, ensuring they are equipped to mitigate public anxiety or depression caused by the epidemic.
It is reported that, on January 27, the BNU’s Department of Psychology and Student Counseling Service Center jointly opened mental health hotlines and online counseling services to people across the country as an emergent response to the outbreak of pneumonia.