Being an anchor place in a world in turmoil
We live in a time in which, at every moment, a multitude of stimuli need to be processed: feeling lost and confused has become part of the game of life. Asking for help, in a context like the present one, is therefore not a weakness, but rather a strength.
Co-PsY (Cooperative PsychologY) aims to meet the needs of all those who, in this time of health emergency and social distancing, need psychological support, or even just a platform that provides information updated in real time. We are here for those in quarantine, those being laid off, family members of hospital patients, professionals and health personnel at risk of burnout, and anyone else feeling affected by the pandemic.
OUR MOTTO: FROM THE NAME, TO THE MISSION, TO OUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES, WE BELIEVE IN COOPERATION, A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO MENTAL WELL-BEING, AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES.
What it does
Co-PsY represents a multimodal platform for psychological and social support in emergency situations that require tailormade responses. We provide these responses thanks to the contribution of our network of professionals trained in healthcare and psychological first aid.
Once you have signed up, we will decide together with you the most appropriate path to take, whether individually or within a support group (coordinated by an expert), whether for adolescents or adults, or focussing on family issues. In addition, you will find constantly updated information on our website: a short manual, good practices, as well as an option to contact us via chat or telephone whenever you need to.
Our methodology and plans of action are grounded in the co-construction and co-design of the treatment.
We do not believe that we as professionals are guardians of the 'Truth'. Rather, we believe it is fundamental to understand the person, beyond their difficulties, in order to design the best treatment alongside them. We believe that everyone who has expertise can help in this ‘second phase’ of the emergency. We are ready to build a Social Ecosystem where we ourselves and our stakeholders, our friends and everyone who needs help, finds a place to share their burden.
How we built it
When the Covid-19 pandemic first arrived in Italy, we were just early-career professionals wondering how we could help. Initially, there were only two of us, then we found others through informal networking, and decided to start working on a platform that would bring about the bigger changes we were hoping would follow the time of crisis: that people feel supported in their mental health struggles, that trauma be prevented, or that trauma responses could be contained so as not to further destabilize our countries.
Each team member contributed according to their skills: our counsellor and photographer added pictures, our IT wizards did their magic to design features and build the website, our bloggers and writers provided articles, our artists their design skills and art, our social media experts reached thousands, and our psychologists contributed in-depth content and background research. We launched the Beta version of the website on April 20th, 2020.
Each team member's point of view allowed us to explore and then convey our core message in a more in-depth, cohesive and meaningful way, which is why we consider ourselves innovative. Co-PsY is an all-round project, with a vision of content managed through different perspectives but with a single aim: cooperation. Because at this moment of physical distance, what we want more than ever is to create a deep union of values.
Challenges we ran into
While there are U.S.-based websites for psychological support and counselling, there is nothing comparable in Europe. As Italians, we felt particularly called to address this challenge as we were the first Europeans to experience the pandemic full force. This is a huge task, and we will need all the support we can get from institutions and partners all over Europe. From the beginning, we have designed our model so it is easily replicable and scalable, and can be used in other European countries and different cultures.
Secondly, we are a very motivated team, but we all need to eventually continue with our lives and earn an income. Our challenge, therefore, is to find the funding for a sustainable future for ourselves and the platform. In order to do so, we are planning a Digital Design Sprint with a Copenhagen-based expert in the next few weeks.
Thirdly, the future remains unpredictable. Like everybody else, we are just putting some stakes into the shaky ground of the present and hope something good will grow out of it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We started just a couple of months ago but we are proud to have (only in Italy) more than 1,000 followers on Facebook. On April 20th, we launched our Beta website www.copsy.it and we are in the process of becoming an NGO recognised by Italian laws and Institutions.
What we learned
First and foremost, the generosity of our team members has filled us with gratitude, a sign of hope in this time of crisis, and a first sign of what we envision for our website: to be a source of healing and light for others. Secondly, we have learned that our self-care is as important as caring for others, and we are taking steps to take good care of ourselves and our team members. And last but not least, we have learned, sometimes the hard way, to stay flexible in the ever changing new world that is emerging.
What's next for Cooperative Psychology - Psychological REMOTE SUPPORT
We are ready to take the next step, to find funding for our idea. In order to move the website from Beta to Alpha, we have the commitment of our team members to continue to contribute features, blog posts, videos, photos and expertise. Keep a close eye on our website and follow us on Facebook to be updated about the latest developments!