Psychological first aid

Photo: Heli Blåfield / Suomen Punainen Risti

At the site of the accident, it is important to ensure psychological first aid in addition to addressing physical injuries.

People are often shocked at the scene of an accident. Accidents, getting severely injured or falling severely ill can often cause people to be mentally hurt, in addition to physical injuries.

The objective of psychological first aid is to calm down, comfort and process what happened. This way, the victim and their family members are helped to cope and move on after the event. Calm and determined actions by the helper will provide a feeling of safety.

How to give psychological first aid at the scene of an accident

  • Behave calmly.
  • Talk to the injured person.
  • Listen to them.
  • Stay with the person you are helping, do not leave them alone.
  • Take care of the injured person and touch them calmingly, if you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Tell them honestly what has happened and what will happen next.
  • Keep outsiders further away.
  • Remember that even you as a helper can need help.

When is professional help needed for recovery?

Most come through shocking experiences by themselves and with the help of their friends and loved ones. Family, friends, and colleagues are crucial for a person’s coping.

Sometimes, however, professional help is needed. The need may arise after a longer period of time and take the following forms, for example:

  • Difficulties sleeping.
  • Difficulties concentrating.
  • Unexplained physical symptoms (headache, stomach symptoms, etc.).
  • Isolation and loneliness.
  • Difficulties with everyday routines.
  • Excessive use of alcohol and medication.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Help is available through helplines, the health centre, or a hospital, for example. Never leave the person in need of help alone with their injuries or symptoms.

Always call the emergency number 112 whenever someone’s life, health, property, or the environment are in danger or threatened or you suspect this to be the case.

How to make an emergency call

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