Covid-19: data and experience of IFOTES helplines

Published by IFOTES on 18 June 2020

The impact of Covid-19

Data and experience of the European helplines

The helplines associated with IFOTES were able to manage the coronavirus emergency and to reorganize the service rather quickly. The service was provided on a regular basis, with nearly 50% of organizations implementing new and alternative solutions.

Increased motivation and availability of listeners was reported, with the temporary return of former volunteers. The reputation of the telephone emotional support service for public opinion and institutions has increased in all European countries.

The average increase in calls in the period March-April 2020 was 30%, with peaks of 60% in Finland and in general in northern European countries. 


The impact on emotional health

(March-April 2020)

On average 39% of the calls had content related to the Covid-19 emergency, with peaks of 50% in central European countries, mainly German-speaking: Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The percentage of callers' concern for their mental health, due to forced isolation, was highest in the Northern countries (55% against a European average of 35%). In Belgium and Luxembourg there was a greater concern for one's physical health (45-50% against a European average of 25%).

The data collected in the phone calls show an average of 37% of anxiety, with a peak of 75% in Finland; stress was reportd for an average of 22.5%, anger and frustration for the limitations imposed by the emergency had an average of 16%, with higher percentages in northern Europe and lower percentages in southern Europe; boredom seems negligible in most countries (average of 14%, but with a double percentage - around 30% - in Germany).

Concern about growing conflicts in families and domestic violence is reported at an average of 26%, with higher percentages - above 40% - in Germany, Norway and Portugal.