We provide psychosocial crisis support in the case of emergencies and events that traumatise communities. We support people and families who survived the crisis to minimise the impact of the traumatic event on their coping. To achieve this, we focus on restoring a sense of emotional and physical security, meeting basic needs and creating a social environment that enables recovery. We also help crisis agencies to identify people’s psychosocial needs and advise them on helping their staff.

Some people are more vulnerable than others in a crisis situation and therefore need support. In this case, the Social Insurance Board provides psychosocial crisis aid, psychological first aid, restorative discussions and follow-up support. Assistance is provided to both directly and indirectly affected people, as well as to the staff of the assisting institutions.

Psychosocial crisis aid is an umbrella term for a wide range of supportive activities that mitigate the effects of emergencies and major accidents that affect communities and people. It will also mitigate the negative consequences on social relations, health and everyday living. It is a process of helping people to improve their sense of well-being and security.

Psychosocial crisis aid is provided by many agencies, communities, volunteers and loved ones, and self-help is also important.  The Social Insurance Board is the contact point for the organisation of psychosocial crisis aid. The victim support response team coordinates events with other agencies and specialists on site. Follow-up support means that a victim support worker will provide support to those in need at a later stage, identifying mental health problems early and finding additional help, if needed.

Psychological first aid is humane and supportive help for a person who has survived a traumatic event and needs support. Psychological first aid provides practical help and support, assesses needs and concerns, and assists the person with basic needs such as food and water. It also means comforting and helping people to make them feel at ease, helping them find information and services, and protecting them from further harm.

Restorative discussion groups offer an opportunity to express emotions that have arisen, for example, as a result of accidents and other tragic events. Discussions will follow an established methodology and will be led by two impartial mediators. Participation is voluntary and only requires that the person is able and willing to trust and to share on the topic that is relevant to them today. The group can be made up of a wide variety of people, but it is also possible to participate with your own group. Participation in the discussion requires no preparation. As a group, you can meet on one or more occasions.

The Social Insurance Board’s victim support service is also responsible for providing the necessary assistance and psychological first aid to victims of incidents abroad involving Estonian people. The Board is responsible for the travel of victims from the crisis hotspot to Estonia, unless agreed otherwise.

Call 116006 to activate the psychosocial crisis aid response team. A member of staff from the authority resolving the incident or responsible for resolving the emergency can make the call.

 

During an emergency situation, psychosocial crisis support activities help the population to cope psychosocially and adapt to the situation. The activities will also help to keep first responders fit for duty and help them avoid burnout.

For the duration of the emergency situation, the crisis aid directed at the population means:

  • adequate and up-to-date information and clear behavioural guidelines;
  • support to ensure basic needs are met;
  • support for people’s everyday living;
  • supporting safe choices and giving hope;
  • wide availability of psychological first aid.

It is critically important to support people affected by the crisis (direct and indirect victims) and those who help. For this, it is necessary to:

  • provide adequate information and clear behavioural instructions;
  • ensure safety and sense of security at the workplace;
  • resolve issues with family and loved ones with the support of the employer;
  • meet everyday living and basic needs (sleep, food, social interaction, etc.);
  • ensure the availability of psychological first aid;
  • provide specialised support at the workplace (managerial attention and support, support measures within the team, group supervision, defusing, etc.).

In the aftermath of an emergency situation, the role of psychosocial crisis aid is to support the recovery of residents and specialists and the return to a normal rhythm of life. In the aftermath of a psychosocial crisis, people who are more traumatised by the crisis need support from the social and health care system to support their mental health and social coping. If necessary, this also includes professional psychological and psychiatric help.

Psychosocial crisis aid is provided by the Social Insurance Board, which supports the authority managing the crisis. Many agencies, communities, volunteers and loved ones carry out psychosocial crisis aid in the form of practical activities. Self-esteem also plays an important role.

The Social Insurance Board carries out psychosocial crisis aid activities through these work strands:

  1. informing;
  2. providing direct assistance;
  3. support for authorities and specialists;
  4. informing the general public and authorities;
  5. screening for new needs, coordinating activities.
  • Chief Specialist of Victim Support in the Northern District (Tallinn and Harju County): Olga Jevdokimova, 5322 5364, Olga.Jevdokimova@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
  • Chief Specialist of Victim Support in the Southern District (Tartu County, Jõgeva County, Viljandi County, Valga County, Võru County, Põlva County): Heleri Olo, 5307 4196, Heleri.Olo@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee

    PSYCHOSOCIAL AID CHANNELS
  • Psychological first aid crisis helpline 1247
  • Online chat with specialists of the victim support helpline via the www.palunabi.ee  website (chat box in the bottom right corner of the page)
  • Helpline of the Children’s Mental Health Centre of the Tallinn Children’s Hospital for frontline workers (health professionals, police officers) in the COVID-19 crisis who are worried about their children and themselves (Mon–Fri 9–12, phone 6787422)
  • Hospitals’ and nursing homes’ pastoral care crisis team helpline
  • Webinars, podcasts on the Peaasi Facebook page

 

  • Chief Specialist of Victim Support in the Western District (Lääne County, Pärnu County, Hiiu County, Saare County, Rapla County, Järva County)
  • Chief Specialist of Victim Support in the Eastern District (Ida-Viru County, Lääne-Viru County): Mari-Liis Org, 524 6758, Mari-Liis.Org@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
  • Head of the Psychosocial Crisis Assistance Service: Helen Alton, 5886 7258, Helen.Alton@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
     

The Victim Support Department of the Social Insurance Board has developed a support package for managers and staff of the Social and Welfare Department to support psychosocial coping. The support package is structured around a traffic light system, with preventive actions designated in green, supportive actions in yellow and reactive actions in red. The support package helps managers to recognise and find the right measures to support their employees and themselves, both in difficult times and in their everyday work.