Guatemala Teachers and staff

ISWS Volunteers Use Culturally Responsive Tools to Investigate the Impact of COVID-19 in Guatemala
December 2020

The Covid Call Cares Project (CCC) telephone surveys were administered across 11 districts around Guatemala City, as part of the ISWS funded COVID Care Calls program. Trained by ISWS social work volunteers, Dana Alonzo, MSW, Ph.D., and Marciana Popescu, MSW, Ph.D., Guatemalan staff conducted the calls, using a semi-structured questionnaire that was developed for this study that also included meaningful interviewer observations.

Through the baseline CCC study, and the extended work with practitioners/service providers in Guatemala, ISWS social work volunteers were able to identify: (1) an urgent need for community capacity-building to develop and sustain prevention and intervention services to address the mental health needs of individuals in these communities; (2) a gap in our understanding regarding individuals’ and communities’ sense of safety, and the impact of the pandemic on domestic violence and community violence to inform better and more timely responses to health and mental health care needs of these communities; and (3) a need to promote mental health psychoeducation focused on reducing stigma and raising public awareness around mental health and depression. Overall, the findings emphasized that further exploration of the impact of this pandemic on mental health, family violence, and child abuse using a culturally responsive lens is important to better understand the needs of individuals in these high-risk communities struggling with mental distress.