Cyrille Kossigan Kokou-Kpolou, PhD1*, Jude Mary Cénat, PhD2,
María Nieves Pérez-Marfil, PhD, Prof.3, Manuel Fernández-Alcántara, PhD4
1 Department of Psychology, University of Picardy Jules Verne, France. E-mail: email@example.com
2 School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center (CIMCYC-UGR), University of Granada, Granada, Spain. E-mail: email@example.com
4 Department of Health Psychology, University of Alicante, Spain. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented cumulative deaths and leaving behind millions of bereaved families and individuals. Moreover, the pandemic is disrupting social fabrics in the conventional way we mourn our deads. In this context therefore, how can psychologists, psychiatrists and other health care professionals help bereaved families and individuals more effectively? This opinion paper proposed five recommendations that cover mental health care needs and challenges which may emerge from the management of these traumatic deaths. In all, efforts to comply with either DSM-5 or ICD-11 PGD guidelines could help COVID-19 bereaved persons with overwhelming distress, as they ensure therapists’ use of appropriate terminologies in therapeutic alliances. However, clinicians need to have a global perspective of COVID-19 bereavement courses, political and public health measures due to the pandemic, and flexible attitudes about the ICD 11 and of DSM-5 time-criterion for diagnosis. This paper emphasizes the importance of social and collective recognition of COVID-19 deaths through various symbolic and materialized forms to free up collective and individual capacities for resilience. The necessity of individual and group interventions through online platforms is underscored, however these modes of therapies may not reinforce social inequalities by excluding bereaved individuals who really need them.
Please cite this article as: Kokou-Kpolou, C. K., Cenat, J. M., Pérez-Marfil, M. N., & Fernandez-Alcantara, M. (2020). How can psychologists and psychiatrists help COVID-19 bereaved persons: Five propositions to understanding contextual challenges. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 20(2).
Keywords: Covid-19 deaths; Prolonged grief disorders; assessment; therapies
Published online: 2020/09/01
Published print: 2020/09/01