Psychological support important after Jämijärvi air crash

Niklas Meltio
Image: Niklas Meltio
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Send the text message SPR to the number 16499 (€15)

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Katastrofirahaston avulla autamme äkillisten onnettomuuksien uhreja myös kotimaassa.

Kotimaassa apu on useimmiten henkistä tukea. Apua saavat myös monet esimerkiksi tulipalossa äkillisesti kotinsa menettäneet perheet. Lisäksi Vapaaehtoisen Pelastuspalvelun toimintaa tuetaan katastrofirahaston avulla. Vapaaehtoinen Pelastuspalvelu auttaa mm. kadonneiden etsinnöissä.

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Red Cross volunteers in the Tampere region have been providing psychological support to the families who lost someone in the air crash on Sunday 20 April 2014, which took the life of eight skydivers.

Three people survived the crash, which occurred shortly after take-off from Jämijärvi Airport in Satakunta. Immediately after the accident, Red Cross volunteers were able to offer support to the next of kin, to other skydivers in the area, and to anyone else at the airport who was badly affected by the accident.

Since the weekend, the Finnish Red Cross has transferred the focus of its aid effort from the Satakunta area, where the crash occurred, to Pirkanmaa, where many of the bereaved families live. FRC volunteers continue to offer the families support and practical assistance. Eleven volunteers from the local Tampere branch of the FRC have been helping those in need.

A couple of days after the accident the authorities were able to take over the provision of psychosocial support for the bereaved.

‘The authorities are in touch with the families and are mapping out the kind of assistance each of them will need. If necessary, they can contact our volunteers and we will work with them in whatever capacity they require,’ says Ari Saarinen, Preparedness Officer for the Häme District of the FRC. ‘We will try to make sure that peer support is available, so that the bereaved families can keep in touch with one another.’

The three survivors of the crash were discharged from hospital on Monday. According to news reports, the survivors had all managed to jump from the plane before it crashed. Although everyone on board had a parachute, they didn’t all jump. The Finnish Safety Investigation Authority is working to determine the cause of the accident.

Many people have needed support

On Monday evening Ms Anja Tunturi, leader of the Red Cross first response team in Northern Satakunta, spoke of the team’s efforts: ‘Many people needed our assistance. I estimate that over this last Sunday-Monday period we have reached some 170 people. We have not spoken one-to-one with every single one of them but we have managed to speak to those who felt the need to talk. We provided support throughout Sunday evening and all day today.’

The psychosocial emergency response group has now completed its work at the crisis response centre which was set up near the Jämi Arena after the accident.

Psychosocial support groups are prepared to assist

Red Cross psychological support group volunteers are prepared to assist the authorities wherever there is an urgent need for their help. In the first days after an accident the volunteers provide non-professional support: they listen and are present. Lately, such volunteer groups have also helped during searches for missing people and to support families who have lost their home to a fire.

Psychosocial emergency response groups are available throughout Finland. You can become a volunteer by attending a basic course in psychosocial emergency response.