Since the last weeks we have been as the main protagonist of all the media and situations, the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19), finding ourselves in a situation of health alarm, in a changing scenario in all areas and that increases uncertainty, especially in the labor sphere.

The importance of accompaniment in processes of labor incorporation of people with potentially disabling mental disorder is recognized by professionals as an effective strategy, at this time, there is no doubt that it becomes more relevant, given the situation caused by COVID-19 that has made the majority of the population confine themselves at home and that people who have to carry out professional work, have to take extreme health measures to prevent possible contagion.

Although, in recent days, information on how to prevent coronavirus health has been widely disseminated, and all companies and organizations have been forced to take the necessary measures to follow instructions and prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the information regarding the labor situation is being very diffuse, companies have had to stop their activity, and there is talk of ERE, ERTE, temporary cessation of work, teleworking, etc. Situations that cause a state of uncertainty and stress that undoubtedly affects us all, and especially people with mental health problems and who are working. For this reason, support must be intensified and is understood more than ever as a need, bearing in mind that this group mostly comes from situations of long-term unemployment, in which employment begins to become a reality in their lives, mixing fears regarding job loss, layoffs, and your own health. Since you require regular appointments with mental health centers, they also face questions about whether they will be seen and whether they will be able to receive the required pharmacological assistance.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the accompanying professionals to be present, transmitting messages of tranquility, and to be informed as far as possible of all the labor measures that are being implemented, as well as those that each of the companies that they have people with mental health problems in their workforce, and the situation they are in regarding their activity and their workers, given that some of them belong to sectors that have been closed, such as educational centers, restaurants, entertainment venues. In the same way, they should coordinate with mental health centers and collect the information pertinent to the procedures that are being carried out, providing them with all the information to reduce their uncertainty in this regard, by guaranteeing their health care according to this provision at these times of exceptionality.

HOW TO ACCOMPANY.

Following the sanitary indications of prevention of the COVID-19, the recommended accompaniment will be carried out fundamentally by phone, and in those cases that can be done by videoconference.

The advice and / or accompaniment should take place, as far as possible, outside of working hours, as has normally been carried out.

The accompaniment professional will take an active role, contacting each of the workers and establishing follow-up appointments by phone or videoconference, which will allow solving doubts and preventing possible stress situations derived from the situation. Likewise, as has already been pointed out, the accompanying professional must be informed of all the labor and health measures that directly affect the workers.

WHAT SHOULD THE ACCOMPANIMENT INCLUDE.

As it has already been pointed out, in these moments of health alert, accompaniment is a priority for the maintenance of the job but also for the health care of the workers, since the stress situations that are occurring in the workplace they are undoubtedly risk factors. Therefore, and summarizing the foregoing, support and advice should include, to the extent that there may be doubts:

  • – Information, explanation about preventive measures in the workplace and, as far as possible, adapting the information to the specific workplace and the company in which you are carrying out your work activity.
  • – Information regarding commuting to the workplace, since in many cases they do not have their own vehicle and usually go to their workplace by public transport. Evaluate in each case the situation, if there was a reduction in service and its compatibility with the schedule, and if there was no request for an adaptation to the schedule, to the extent that the company can facilitate it. Being the accompanying professional the mediator with the company.
  • – Basic information about the disease, symptoms, development, possibility of contagion to relatives, etc … specifying the basic rules of prevention and reinforcing their need to be carried out also in the workplace. Reporting the preventive measures regarding once you get home.
  • – Labor information about ERTE, ERE, etc … that may pose uncertainty in relation to your job. In this case, the information will be specific to each company in which they work, requiring the accompanying professional to be in continuous contact with the managers of the companies to transmit all the information at all times, being aware of the vertiginous nature of the changes.
  • – In those cases in which the companies have ceased their activity, special attention will have to be paid, to the extent possible, to offer them information and advice to regularize their situation, in the event that measures such as layoffs, ERTES were established or suspensions. Facilitating the procedures to regularize.
  • – Special attention is also given to those workers who are in companies of first need, such as food supplies, pharmacies and health. Collecting all the information regarding the preventive measures of the company and transmitting messages of tranquility, given that your job is vital and that by following the appropriate measures you can work and prevent contagion.
  • – Information on responsibilities and rights, given that doubts arise as to whether or not they should go to the job, transmitting the responsibility to go to the job and carry out the measures imposed.
  • – To provide information regarding your medical appointments, there are many doubts regarding whether or not to keep them, especially appointments with nurses to supply medication.

    In summary, the support staff will have a pro-active role in all support, serving as a link between the workers and all the agents involved, the company and the health system of the public mental health network.

Luis Pelegrín Calero                                                                                                             Isabel Contreras Cano

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