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Psychosocial crisis support

The Social Insurance Board organizes psychosocial crisis support in the event of a crisis. Psychosocial crisis support is an umbrella term for a range of supportive activities that mitigate the consequences of crisis events that severely affect individuals and communities. It is a support process that aims to reduce the impact of a traumatic event and restore people's independent coping. To achieve this, we pay attention to restoring a sense of emotional and physical security, satisfying basic needs, and creating a social environment that enables recovery.

The activities of psychosocial crisis support in the event of a crisis can be broadly divided into two: immediate action and follow-up support.

The psychosocial crisis support service provides immediate support in the acute phase of a crisis event. Depending on the severity and scope of the event, it can last from a few days to several weeks. Immediate support includes identifying people affected by the crisis event and providing them with psychological first aid if necessary. Psychological first aid includes assessment of the person's needs and concerns, assistance in meeting basic needs (water, food, hygiene, and a place to stay), connecting with loved ones, listening to the person, and support in finding information and services. If necessary, there is cooperation with specialists from other institutions.

In crisis events that affect many people at the same time, the immediate activities of psychosocial crisis support include providing information and behavioral instructions to the population, informing other agencies, and coordinating activities.

In crisis events that affect individuals, families, and the community, psychosocial crisis support is provided by the staff of the field response crisis team. The field response crisis team responds to incidents where a child or adult has died as a result of a tragic event (suicide, accident or other accident, violence, overdose, etc.) at the invitation of the police from all over Estonia. However, some crisis events can affect so many people that they require more support staff. In these cases, in addition to the members of the crisis team, psychosocial crisis assistance is provided by the employees of the Social Insurance Board, cooperation partners, and volunteers.

Some people may need longer-term help and support, i.e., follow-up care, after a crisis event. This means supporting people in returning to a normal rhythm of life and recovering from the incident. Depending on the circumstances of the crisis, the social and healthcare system (among other things, the victim assistance department of the Social Insurance Board) and the local government can offer follow-up support. If necessary, this also means professional crisis counseling, psychological counseling, therapy, and psychiatric help. Support groups and peer counselors of people with a similar background or experience can also be a great support.

Each of us can help a person in a crisis situation by acquiring psychological first-aid skills. For this purpose, the Social Insurance Board has developed a psychological first aid e-course, which you can complete at your own pace here.

In a crisis situation, employers can support people's coping by contributing to ensuring safety and security at the workplace, helping to solve issues related to family and loved ones, and offering specialized help at the workplace (attention and support from managers, intra-team support measures, group supervision, etc.).

To support psychosocial coping, the Victim Support Department of the Social Insurance Board has prepared a support package for managers and employees in the social and welfare field. The support package is built on the principle of a traffic light, where the green area has preventive activities, the yellow area has supportive activities, and the red area has reactive activities. The support package helps managers recognize and find suitable measures to support employees and themselves, both in difficult times and in everyday work.

You can read more about the support package here.

The Social Insurance Board is responsible to the necessary extent for victim support and psychological first aid in events abroad where Estonian people suffer. The Board is responsible for the arrival of victims from the crisis hot spot to Estonia unless otherwise agreed.

Contacts and channels for psychosocial crisis support

Head of the Psychosocial Crisis Support Service: Hendrik Unt, 5389 3178, [email protected]You can find the contacts of victim support workers and regional victim support managers here.


Telephone counselors on the victim support helpline number 116 006 (open 24/7)
  • Possibility of online chat via with specialists of the victim support crisis helpline (chat window in the lower right corner of the page)
  • telephone and online advisers on topics related to children on the Children's Helpline phone number 116 111 and on the Children's Helpline website
  • emotional support is available every day between 10:00 and 24:00 at the number 116 123, and pastoral counselors are available on the same line between 16:00 and 24:00.


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