FREE E-BOOK FOR MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS: “CONNECTED – Phone and e-counseling in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic”

Dear colleagues,

daily work with children, youth and parents, as well as cooperation with other experts, in dealing with the uncertainty of a pandemic that threatens all aspects of our health, motivated us to create a book that will support professionals in providing psychological support in dealing with a pandemic and its consequences. On more than 200 pages, we have combined the most recent scientific research, recommendations of umbrella bodies and the experiences of experts from various fields of psychology and beyond. Created as a multidisciplinary view of support in the pandemic and beyond, through the collaboration of psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, the book “Connected: Phone and e-counseling in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic” is our gift to mental health professionals and others interested, stemmed from the solidarity and fully voluntary engagement of all involved.

16 authors contributed their contribution to the book, combining recent scientific knowledge and rich previous professional experience in providing support and protection to people in various crises. Dear authors, thank you for your selflessness in sharing your knowledge in these moments – this book is proof that hard times can really awaken the best in us. To make sure that it reaches everyone who needs it, we publish the publication in electronic form and in electronic form, which you can download at the link:


Link to download the book in PDF (Croatian language): Povezani: Telefonsko i e-savjetovanje u suočavanju s pandemijom COVID-19

Link to download the book in PDF (English language): CONNECTED Telephone and Online Counselling in Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Consequences

We thank the President of the Croatian Psychological Chamber, Andreja Bogdan, clinical psychologist from the Čakovec County Hospital, who is the co-author and editor of this book with the director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, clinical psychologist-psychotherapist, and psychologists of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center Tea Brezinšćak and Ella Selak Bagarić, executive editors and authors of papers, and all our co-authors: Vlatka Boričević Maršanić, PhD – MD, psychiatrist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center; Mirna Čagalj Farkas, psychologist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center; Renata Ćorić Špoljar, PhD, clinical psychologist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center; Tamara Gojković, social worker from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center; Nada Kegalj, psychologist – psychotherapist of Murvica Elementary School in Rijeka; Anita Matijević, lawyer, head of the department of juvenile delinquency and crime against youth and family in the police directorate; Igor Mikloušić, PhD, psychologist, member of the expert group at the Ministry of Veterans for the development of guidelines within the project “Psychosocial adjustment of Croatian veterans”; Živko Mišević, MD, psychiatrist – psychotherapist, head of the psychiatric department of the County Hospital in Čakovec; Bruna Profaca, PhD, clinilac psychologist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center; Inge Vlašić-Cicvarić, PhD, clinical psychologist, consultant for mental health of children and adolescents, KBC Rijeka; Herman Vukušić, PhD, psychiatrist of KBC Zagreb and professor Zoran Zoričić, PhD, head of the Department of Alcoholism and Other Addictions at the Center for Psychiatry of the KBC Sestre Milosrdnice. Thank you all very much.


We thank the Society of Psychologists Šibenik for the donation that enabled the printed edition.


At the very end, we thank our reviewers professor Igor Filipčić, PhD – MD and professor Predrag Zarevski, PhD, as well as the author of the foreword Vjekoslav Jeleč, PhD.


We hope that this book will be a valuable support in empowering and dealing with the consequences of the previous period on the mental health of children, young people and adults, especially the most vulnerable among them, as well as in the future.



A whole century has passed since the world last experienced a crisis similar to the one it is in now. Although taking place globally, this health crisis is very personal. It focuses on the individual and his or her physical and mental health, and thus requires help focused on individual needs. The COVID-19 crisis for the citizens of Zagreb was further aggravated by the earthquakes, which followed the measures ordered by #ostanidoma. In them some homes were lost, while to others it ceased to be a safe place.

When a person faces uncertain times, events that are now everyday can strongly contribute to feelings of fear, isolation and uncertainty, but also the occurrence of other emotional states and reactions. Many these days are looking for resources, both inside and outside ourselves, that will make it easier for them to cope with the demands of adapting to new circumstances, the absence of the usual structure of the day, potential or actual losses of loved ones, relationships and stability. stressful circumstances.

The need for help is especially pronounced among those who are most vulnerable – children, people with previous mental health problems and a history of traumatic experiences, patients and people in self-isolation, the elderly, mothers and mothers of newborns, the disabled, people at risk, people who are were previously socially isolated, and refugees.

Stress is an evolutionary response to a threat to which we all respond in different ways. Sometimes it can awaken the best in us, which we have already witnessed in this crisis. In the days that are still ahead of us, it is the responsibility of all of us to influence the individual, the community, and society as a whole, using the resources and strengths we have. The contribution of mental health professionals, together with the efforts of physicians, epidemiologists, and virologists, precisely through an understanding of human behavior and the provision of psychological help and support, is critical to global recovery and community resilience. We are aware of the risks of the long-term mental health consequences that may follow, and we must therefore act immediately, in a coordinated manner, in such a way that assistance is available to all in a timely manner. By helping those who need us, wherever we are and at a time when they really feel the need, we can reduce the negative effects of a pandemic and help restore hope and security to people affected by the crisis.

Through the four units in front of you, we have tried to cover key topics and information relevant to counseling work in the current health crisis, taking into account the specifics and relevant most recent empirical data available at the moment.

The first unit deals with dealing with a pandemic, providing us with a clear overview of recent scientific knowledge about what was new and unknown to us in this crisis until recently, and directs us to find support in what is known. The reader is introduced to the psychological significance of the COVID-19 pandemic and the paths of recovery, and recommendations and guidelines for organizing and providing psychological support in the current crisis are proposed. In this section, a special topic is addressed regarding the specifics of telephone and electronic counseling, which are in these moments a valuable, and sometimes the only way, reaching out to those who need support.

The second unit focuses on responding to the specific needs of clients in the COVID-19 pandemic. As the oft-mentioned saying reminds us these days: “We are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Although we share many challenges, different people are affected in different ways and to different degrees. It is therefore necessary to understand and recognize individual needs and adapt our approach. The unit includes guidelines for providing psychological support to patients with COVID-19, people with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders, with the problem of addiction, but also recommendations for counseling work with children, parents and teachers.


The third unit covers the topic of protection from domestic violence, which was imposed as a priority in the COVID-19 pandemic, and which points to the need for cross-sectoral cooperation, timely response of the child protection system and information on opportunities for exercising rights and resources in the community.

The fourth unit points to the foundations of recovery and growth of clients and helpers through building resilience and self-care. The knowledge about resilience that abounds in the scientific literature today reminds us that strengthening it is our professional, but we could also say moral responsibility in these moments. At the same time, taking care of our clients, we must not forget to take care of ourselves, who by supporting them actually share many challenges with them.

In the appendix to this book, we have sought to bring together sources of information and materials produced by relevant Croatian and international organizations, which are currently free and publicly available.

This book was written by prominent experts, our esteemed colleagues, who work daily and directly with risk groups – both before and during this health crisis. We thank all the authors for their willingness to share their knowledge with all of us, and we hope that this publication will help in further challenges and work for all those whose life’s calling is to help.


professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist

Director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection




Andreja Bogdan, clinical psychologist

President of the Croatian Psychological Chamber



From the Foreword of the Head of the Health Office of the City of Zagreb, Vjekoslav Jeleč, PhD 

Days of quarantine, marked by uncertainty, anxiety, pain and fear, certainly enter our collective memory, and the psychological crisis that follows the health one inevitably warns us of the need to urgently provide help and protection to the most vulnerable. The meaning of this book is multiple; it provides a comprehensive overview of COVID-19 not only as a health, but also as a social, intrapersonal, interpersonal, psychological challenge, that is, an unquestionably public health problem of today.

The book provides an insight into the latest scientific and professional knowledge, derived from world research, but also the clinical notes of those who were not safe in their homes during the quarantine, but on the first line of providing psychological assistance. The focus of this book is on man and the protection of his mental health. In globally uncertain times like these, publishing a book intended to help helpers is one way to affirm the courage, selflessness and wisdom that all of them are indispensable for preserving the health and well-being of others in the midst of a pandemic. It is an experience that motivates us without precedent, and I believe that it will inspire new generations of experts, those who are yet to come, when they learn from these pages and prepare to give their contribution to the profession in some future times.

I am especially proud that this book is available to everyone completely free of charge. I believe that this kind of solidarity, diligence and commitment is also one of the important steps towards facing difficulties and strengthening the resilience of all of us. Therefore, by helping others on their path to health, we take care of our own – be supportive of each other.

Thanks and congratulations to all the authors who contributed to the creation of this publication!

Vjekoslav Jeleč, PhD



“… It was written in a scientifically based and well-argued way, but also drinkable and interesting, based on the most modern textbooks in this field. This book is an extensive and comprehensive work that has been written very thoroughly, critically and thoughtfully. ”

professor Igor Filipčić, PhD-MD


“This book remains a lasting trace of knowledge about the possibilities of telemedicine and psychological counseling in times of crisis, which will certainly provide an advantage in work even after the COVID-19 crisis, which is why I firmly believe in its value as a potential textbook for psychologists and other mental health professionals. the future. ”

professor Predrag Zarevski, PhD


We hope that this book will be a valuable support in empowering and dealing with the consequences of the previous period on the mental health of children, young people and adults, especially the most vulnerable among them, as well as in the future.


Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

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