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Accidents and traumatic crisis events are unexpected and rare, and cannot be anticipated or controlled. Such events affect more than just one person – they may affect a county, community or country. They cause death, trauma or major property damage and disrupt the daily life of the community.

Examples of such events are fires, floods, man-made crises, nuclear and toxic waste accidents, terrorist attacks, school shootings, homicides, suicides, car accidents, accidents at work, domestic violence and crimes, including assaults, robberies, murders, rapes, sexual abuse and mistreatment of children.

Although these events affect everyone in some way, people’s reactions and feelings may differ. They may feel fear, anxiety, confusion. Some people may react mildly, some more severely. How someone reacts depends on many factors, such as the severity of the event, previous experiences, available support, cultural background and age.

In the event of accidents, you can get help from psychosocial crisis support, psychological first aid and recovery counselling. In certain cases, a victim support worker can offer you psychological counselling or psychotherapy. Read more here.

What is psychological first aid?

Crises can have long-term physical and emotional effects. Missing out on something important can make people experience a sense of loss. A crisis can lead to a number of losses, such as loss of property, home or job, separation from loved ones, neighbours and friends. People can also experience loss that is felt first and foremost by themselves: the loss of control and a sense of dignity, of well-being and hope, of dreams, security and trust. Psychological first aid is the first step to reducing the impact of such losses and giving people the strength and resilience they need to cope and carry on. Psychological first aid supports a person’s coping.

Psychological first aid has been recommended by many international experts. The Social Insurance Board has translated the guide ‘Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers’ into Estonian. We also offer training for rescuers, medics and social workers, as well as for anyone who feels they want to be a more informed helper in a crisis situation.

Psychological first aid activities may include restoring a sense of security, helping with basic needs, getting information and finding services. To provide psychological first aid, a helper does not need to be a trained psychologist, psychiatrist or other counsellor – anyone can learn the first aid skills needed to support people in crisis.

Get help

If you need help, contact a victim support worker in your area, who can tell you about the different options and offer support and advice. In certain cases, they can offer you psychological counselling or psychotherapy.

The Social Insurance Board’s victim support helpline 116 006 is available 24/7 to listen to you and offer advice and support. You can also chat with us online at In case of emergency, call the emergency services on 112.


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