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The BRICS Forum, an independent international organization encouraging commercial, political, and cultural cooperation between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, was formed in , and these countries have a ificant influence on their regional affairs. These nations were hit by COVID at different times, and all adopted home quarantine to reduce the spread of the virus.

We present a comparative analysis of actions of psychology and potential outcomes during the COVID pandemic in BRICS nations regarding five aspects: psychology in health policies, social roles of psychology, socioeconomic context, actions for the general population, and health professionals during stage 1 of the pandemic, and possible actions in stage 2. Various types of actions were taken by psychologists in BRICS, with different levels of coordinated cooperation with respective governmental and non-governmental organizations, multiple and parallel efforts from different scientific societies, and professional regulatory agencies.

Scientific societies have had an important role in coordinating some of these efforts, especially because they congregate the psychologists from different parts of these countries, improving communication and access to key information. The aim of these actions varies from improving situational skills and competences to increase the accessibility of psychological services and provide psychoeducation and telepsychology.

We will consider the social importance of these actions within these countries as a global opportunity for psychology to stage in a complex context involving human health. The way psychology in BRICS will face this challenging situation is likely to produce important regional influence, stimulate scientific contribution, and increase the accessibility of psychology. Since , these countries have sought to establish fairer international governance, developed sectoral cooperation in different areas, such as science, technology and innovation, economics, finances, business, education, and security BRICS-Brasil, The BRICS is an economic group composed of deating countries considered to be emerging, which have the economic potential to overcome the great world powers.

It is not an economic block or an international institution but an international mechanism with a diplomatic character, which promotes the collective economic and political actions by these countries. Currently, sectoral cooperation, which covers more than 30 subject areas, brings important concrete benefits to the populations of the five countries.

As a major global health problem, COVID is a central theme on the BRICS agenda for having an impact on the capabilities of health infrastructure and global economies, in addition to the important discussion on political management that is associated with the development of efficient actions in these countries. Psychological scientific societies of these countries are aware of these impacts, concerned with consequences for the mental health of the general population and, in particular, health professionals, with psychosocial actions aimed at different vulnerable groups children, the elderly, people in vulnerability, and victims of violence , taking into sociocultural differences and the particular attempt to strengthen health systems in these developing countries.

In this sense, this perspective article discusses the actions of psychology as a science and profession, represented by several scientific societies and councils, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and universities, in combating the pandemic of COVID, in the countries that form the alliance of the BRICS. If the BRICS were a country adding up all the scientific production would be 8, documents in , we would be third in the scientific production of psychology, behind the USA and the UK, well-ahead of Germany. Therefore, we present an analysis of actions of psychology and potential outcomes just after the outbreak of COVID in the BRICS nations regarding five aspects: psychology in health policies, social roles of psychology, socioeconomic context, actions for the general population, and health professionals during stage 1 of the pandemic, and possible actions in stage 2.

Finally, we consider a comparative analysis of these actions. Profession and formation have been regulated by Federal law No. Federal Council of Psychology FCP has been the organization responsible for professional registration and regulation since In , there were courses of psychology in public and private institutions with 22, enrolled students, after the Higher Education project that intensified the expansion, democratization, interiorization, and internationalization of Higher Education Dantas et al.

Extensive supervised training during 5-year courses is mandatory in different areas of professional psychology. Therefore, universities and faculty are part of the public mental care service. Parallel to professional growth, scientific knowledge is produced in about 90 graduate courses and published internationally and by dozens of open-access national scientific journals linked to universities and scientific societies of different subfields of psychology.

It works in regionalized care networks, integrating different levels of care complexity, from community Basic Health Units UBS to hospitals. The characteristics of the service provided vary according to the different regions of the country. In recent years, there has been an expansion of the inclusion of psychology in primary care, especially in the Family Health Strategy ESF and in Family Health Support Centers NASF , where psychologists perform socio-educational activities, home visits, and clinical care.

However, there is no clear role of psychology in health teams Seidl et al. In Russia, more than universities are engaged in the training of psychologists. Currently, according to the reports of the respected ministries, about 60, psychologists work in the field of education, in the healthcare sector, more than 30, psychologists; in the structure of law enforcement agencies, about 40, psychologists; in the system of social protection, more than 25, psychologists; in the HR system of organizations, about 50, psychologists; and more than 95, psychologists conduct individual practice.

The largest and oldest organization that unites professional psychologists in Russia is the Russian Psychological Society RPS , one of the oldest psychological societies in the world, which was founded in Vygotsky, A. Luria, A. Leontiev, P. Galperin, and other leading scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy educations, leading psychologists of the largest scientific and educational organizations.

Together with the Federal Educational and Methodological Association in the Field of Higher Education, RPS organizes scientific and methodological support for the preparation of federal state educational standards of higher professional education and basic professional educational programs in the field of psychological education. Psychology as a discipline started in when the first department of psychology was established at the University of Calcutta, India. Later, departments of psychology were established at the University of Mysore in , University of Madras , University of Kerala , Utkal University , University of Bombay , Allahabad University , and the University of Delhi Psychology was also introduced in the various Indian Institutes of Technology and Management setup later.

During the years, various psychology associations were formed, and it is difficult to give the exact of associations in the country. The Indian Psychological Association was established in , Indian Psychoanalytic Society in , and later on, Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, National Academy of Psychology NAOP , Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, and several other associations focusing on health, school psychology, community psychology, counseling and guidance, and about 20 regional associations in the different states, besides numerous local chapters.

The idea of a federation of associations has been mooted and felt important and announced in , but much needs to be done. The focus of these associations has been more on academic work and awareness generation than psychological services, except for a few. It is also a member of the Asia Pacific Association of Psychology and engages in collaborative endeavors, including programs in disaster management.

Psychologists work in close association with professionals in allied disciplines, such as psychiatry, pediatrics, education, social work, nursing, rural development, rehabilitation, defense, and management. It may be noted that, with the realization of the complexity, the move is more toward multi- and trans-disciplinary initiatives. In India, there is no registry of psychologists in the country; hence, an accurate count is difficult.

Manickam suggests that there may be more than master-level programs of psychology with different specializations in the country and, perhaps, more than , psychologists based on the of training centers and the intake at each center p. This may have increased in the last 4 years. India has several institutions working for the mental health and well-being of its citizens. The act also outlines the responsibilities of other agencies such as the police concerning people with mental illness as well as attempts to tackle the stigma of mental illness and its amelioration. Many current mental health-related services happening in the country are in the backdrop of this act.

The institute provides a large of mental health and well-being-related services. Several other institutions both in the government sector and the private sector are providing their services for mental health care, including many mental health professionals and clinical psychologists in various medical institutions and hospitals in the country. These institutions during COVID times are providing counseling and mental health facilities for the public as well as special groups like children, migrants, elderly, etc.

CPS is one of the earliest seventh national academic organizations in the world. It has 36 divisions and 12 committees for special task forces. Two other national associations of psychology are the Chinese Association of Social sychology and the Chinese Association for Mental Health Psychology is taught in China at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in universities and institutes that offer postgraduate programs, have master programs in psychology psychology, mental health education and 30 universities have doctorial level programs in psychology in China Education online.

In , the China Ministry of Labor and Social Security launched a certification for psychological counselors, based on the National Standards on Psychological Counseling. The new certification was given to 1. It enables private psychotherapy practice and psychological counseling in general public settings, such as hospitals, universities, primary and secondary schools, entrepreneurs, and communities. Regulation of the practice of medicine and allied professions in South Africa dates back to the late nineteenth century when the then Colonial Medical Council of the Cape Province was established in terms of Section 18 of the Medical and Pharmacy Act of At that time, the Cape Province was nominally under the British colonial rule, which lasted until , when the Union of South Africa was formed in The Professional Board for Psychology has the mandate to, among others, 1.

Control and to exercise authority in respect of all matters affecting the education and training of persons in, and the manner of the exercise of the practices pursued in connection with, any health profession falling within the ambit of the professional board; 2. Maintain and enhance the dignity of the profession and the integrity of the persons practicing the profession Health Professions Council of South Africa, To practice in South Africa, a psychologist has to register with the HPCSA under any of the following : clinical, counseling, educational, industrial, or research.

Besides, the HPCSA has provided for the registration of psychometrists and registered counselors who can be categorized as mid-level psychology professionals. Psychologists are expected to adhere to their scope of practice as outlined in the Regulations Defining the Scope of the Profession of Psychology.

One of the challenges that South Africa faces is the acute shortage of psychologists and other mental health professionals. A study by Docrat et al. Apart from the statutory Professional Board for Psychology, there are several psychological associations operating in South Africa. The society was formed in through an amalgamation of various psychological bodies that were in existence at that time. We present a comparative analysis of actions of psychology and potential outcomes during the COVID in the BRICS nations regarding five aspects: psychology in health policies, social roles of psychology, socioeconomic context, actions for the general population, and health professionals during stage 1 of the pandemic, and possible actions in stage 2.

By May, some cities enacted lockdown due to a high of deaths. Since then, , cases have been confirmed, and 22, deaths occurred until May 24, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health b. Quarantine, lockdown, or other measures of social distancing were recommended at the discretion of governors and mayors but not by the Ministry of Health. These mixed messages concerning the severity of the pandemics were considered as a menace by the international community The Lancet, However, until then, there was no work organized to serve the population at different levels of health care in biological disasters and aimed at the general population, patients, and healthworkers.

Also, we did not have a tradition of online psychological care for health or training for psychologists in this field. Brazilian psychologists have completely changed their professional activities, turning to online services. On March 26, the Federal Council of Psychology published a national resolution Federal Council of Psychology, a , reducing bureaucracy for psychologist's registration for practice mediated by information and communication technologies.

For instance, during COVID, psychologists can make use of information and communications technology to assist people during crises or emergencies, which was forbidden before. Despite these changes, some limitations to online care were maintained so far, such as psychological assessment Federal Council of Psychology, , mainly concerning the use of some psychological tests, and, for some cases of forensic assessment, face-to-face service must be provided Federal Council of Psychology, b.

The pandemic crisis has many potential sources of psychological distress large-scale deaths, economic recession, unemployment, urban violence, lack of protective equipment, fear of contracting the virus, stigmatization. The provision of psychological services for mental health for the population, health professionals, and patients was a fundamental condition in this period Torales et al.

Changes in regulation of telepsychology were crucial to the implementation of health policies, such as psychological care offering to the community, especially to health professionals. One of the first initiatives aimed at telepsychology to the population with mental suffering was a partnership between the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.

Universities are providing teleservices [e. From this material, an online course was created for several health professional , including psychologists. After completing this training, professionals will be allowed to use a telepsychology platform provided by Fiocruz. COVID associated with quarantine has produced changes in the psychological practices, bringing new challenges for professionals in Brazil.

At least half of the cases detected in the capital of Russia, Moscow city, with a population of more than 12 million and over 17 million people live in the suburbs. The self-isolation regime announced on March 30, , during which, the majority of the population was compelled to stay at home, raised challenges that required a response from psychological science and practicing psychologists. Though, currently, in some regions, self-isolation regime is taken off in Moscow, and in regions with detected high s of infected, it was prolonged until the end of May.

During the last 15 years, Russian Psychological Society became deeply integrated with the education elaboration of the educational standards for school- and university-level education. However, a lack of legislation on psychological help in the country due to the absence of specific regulations is probably the major challenge faced before and during pandemic, when the qualification of the service of volunteer psychologists became a relevant issue.

Rise in emotional reactions associated with the virus fear of getting sick, anxiety for oneself and relatives, etc. This has increased to a total of , cases, 3, deaths in the country until May 21, So far, the majority of the cases had been reported in big cities, e.

The COVID outbreak was linked to people coming from outside the country initially, but, soon, it spread to many parts of the country. The Prime Minister of the country on March 22, asked the people to observe a Janta Curfew voluntary public curfew , which found a massive support. This was a precursor to the forthcoming lockdown period. On March 24, , a lockdown of the entire country was announced for 21 days, affecting the entire 1. On April 15, lockdown 2 was announced, extending the earlier lockdown until May 3, , which was further extended to May 17, lockdown 3.

The Government decided to divide the country into three zones: Green Zone, Red Zone, and Orange Zone, having varying degrees of relaxations. We are now having another lockdown 4, until May 31, with more relaxations. During the lockdowns, various efforts were made by government agencies to make essential supplies available to people so that some of their hardships were taken care of.

These efforts came as early as the last week of March, the week when the lockdown was announced for the first time in India. More and more resource material is actively being added to the repertoire. A relatively young Ministry of AYUSH established in has also been playing an active role in the dissemination of information such as how to boost immunity and has provided simple ayurvedic procedures for cough and sore throat Ministry of AYUSH, Ayurveda has for long played a central part in many people's beliefs and attitudes toward health issues in India.

Positive informative messages from an official government ministry at a national level can help in boosting people's sense of security in these uncertain times. Among the plethora of advisories from various ministries and departments of Government, the need to create social support and take care of the mental health of frontline workers was not forgotten National Disaster Management Authority, b.

However, government measures in dealing with mental health issues beyond providing resource materials and advisories are minimal. The fact that such issues have been acknowledged by the government is a positive step but still insufficient. The biggest concern in India is the well-being of the large section of the population, who are at the periphery.

These include women, children, minority groups, other deprived groups based on caste and class as well as the physical and mentally challenged persons. Psychological associations face the biggest challenge to provide mental health services to this section. Several NGOs have also been very active. During COVID times, these vulnerable groups have been worst impacted, challenging the unorganized psychological services in the country in many ways.

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A Small Brazilian Town Is Beating Covid Through a Unique Experiment