COVID-19 Mental-demic and Incheon Airport’s “Mind Travel” Team

According to the National Mental Health Survey for COVID-19 conducted by Gyeonggi Research Institute, one in two citizens are experiencing the “mental-demic” syndrome. Mental-demic is an expression created in light of the current situation where COVID-19 pandemic is exerting a negative impact on the communities by spreading psychological trauma, such as depression and anxiety, like an infectious disease.

Stress caused by COVID-19 and social distancing is affecting people’s mental health. Gyeonggi Research Institute conducted the survey in an effort to remove the stigma of being a confirmed patient, and is strongly advocating for customized psychological support programs.

Having recognized the situation, Incheon Airport organized and started “Mind Travel,” a psychological recovery program, as part of the third open call for solutions to local issues. Let’s find out in detail about this program.

“Mind Travel” program

Mind Travel is a psychological counseling program for local residents. The activities of this program are performed through collaboration between Incheon Airport and Incheon Council on Social Welfare for psychological quarantine of the citizens of Incheon.

This is an attempt at alleviating the negative impact COVID-19 inflicts on the local residents’ mental health in addition to the effort for recovery of economic losses so far. In detail, art therapy service is provided to local residents in need of psychological support.

For effective implementation of this program, the role of art therapists is extremely important. Through Mind Travel program, qualified people are invited to join Incheon Airport’s Mind Travel Team where they receive systematic training on art therapy service.

Incheon Airport’s Mind Travel Team with art therapy trainees

Incheon Airport’s Mind Travel Team comprises members receiving training to become art therapists. The team will provide art therapy service to local residents through cooperation with welfare-related organizations in Incheon Metropolitan City. The members of Incheon Airport Mind Travel Team will provide “psychological quarantine” service to the mentally exhausted local residents for seven months. After this period, they are appointed as members of local volunteer groups.

With the members selected, the team’s kick-off ceremony was held at the end of May. The members are preparing to provide psychological quarantine service after receiving training. Let’s have a look at the activities planned out for the future.

Mind Travel Team cares for Incheon residents’ mental health!

Mind Travel Team members’ training largely consists of three steps.

First, the members develop specialized knowledge and skills through mentoring by professional psychological counselors and grow as art therapists to lead the virtuous cycle in the society. The hours of training received through this program are recognized as those for the training of Korean Art Therapy Association (KATA). After completing the practice-centered curriculum, the members move on to the next stage.

The members also receive coaching to bolster their professionalism before they start providing service in the field. Art therapy materials necessary for the service activities are also provided. Mind Travel Team members will start performing activities based on their capacities improved through the practice and coaching process.

Following their service at Mind Travel Team, the members will be appointed to serve at local volunteer groups. Local volunteer groups are organized by the regional Council on Social Welfare of 17 cities and provinces as well as the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Korea Council on Social Welfare in order to build a new volunteer service paradigm to ensure voluntariness, professionalism, and sustainability. So, the members will be able to continue serving to protect mental health of local residents.

Today, we looked at Incheon Airport’s program for protecting mental health of local residents. As the pandemic prolongs, mental health has become important in addition to the economic conditions. Hopefully, this program Incheon Airport has organized together with Incheon Council on Social Welfare will bring comfort to the mind of local residents despite the difficult circumstances.

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