Field Notes: COVID-19 and the Provision of Psychological Services
It seems that there were some greater concerns on the part of some Israeli respondents about their own mental health than was the case with either the North Americans or Asians. Is this a case of actual differences, or either greater sensitivity to mental health issues or more honesty in reporting these issues as have a personal impact?
What about the more positive challenges facing those who provide psychological services in these three areas of the world? Some differences appeared in the ratings. While some of the Israeli respondents might have identified some major negative challenges in their life as a result of COVID, they also frequently indicated greater opportunities for growth and new directions. 50% of the Israeli respondents indicating that these emergent opportunities had a “major impact” on their life, whereas only 19% of the North Americans and 13% of the Asians identified COVID as having a major impact in this area. 30% of the North Americans actually indicated that the virus never opened up an opportunity. It should be noted however, that both North American (47%) and Asian (62%) respondents did indicate that opportunities were “often” opening up—the virus was just not as often a “major impact” for these two populations as it was for the Israelis.
Finally, we can look at results for the second positive challenge which concerns finding open, empowering and/or newly emerging visions of the future in the midst of COVID challenges. The ratings are similar in the three populations, with opinions being spread out rather evenly over all four response categories among the North Americans, Asians and Israeli. There was a slight tendency for North Americans to be less positive in their ratings, though many of these respondents at least rated this challenge as “often” being part of their life (47%) and 13% indicated that the virus had a “major impact” in this regard. By comparison, 50% of the Israelis and 25% of the Asians rated this positive challenge as “often” being present. 25 % of the Asians and 17% of the Israeli respondents indicated that this challenge had a “major impact”. Apparently, the virus was viewed in quite different ways by those who provide psychological services in each of these three regions of the world. Was this a matter of the actual experiences with which each respondent had to deal in their own life or a matter of how these experiences were framed and engaged?
Future of Psychological Services
There were some differences between our three population of respondents regarding how they think their work is likely to change in the future as a result of COVID-19. First, the Asian respondents were much more likely to suggest “quite a bit” of change in their strategies (88%) than were either the North American (29%) or Israeli (33%) respondents. This difference is also reflected in the “a little bit” ratings. Asian respondents were much less likely to rate the change in strategy as “a little bit” (12%) than were either the North Americans (13%) or Israelis (16%).