The Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik replied to the interpellation concerning psycho-social support in crises (No. 6), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Signe Riisalo, Erkki Keldo, Vilja Toomast, Annely Akkermann, Signe Kivi, Maris Lauri, Jüri Jaanson, Kalle Laanet, Helmen Kütt, Riina Sikkut, Liina Kersna, Andres Sutt, Marko Mihkelson, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, Urmas Kruuse, Ants Laaneots, Urve Tiidus, Eerik-Niiles Kross and Yoko Alender on 26 September.
The interpellators referred to the tragic events that had caused crises, traumas and life changes to many people. In such a situation, the main rules are rapid response, honest information, listening, and not abandoning persons in distress. The interpellators noted that psycho-social support in crises had to be part of the national response to situations of danger and the previously agreed plan for solving crisis situations.
The interpellators wished to know what the current situation of the organisation and provision of psycho-social support in crises was.
Kiik explained that psycho-social support in crises was a process of support that focused on post-case resolution of tasks with a view to supporting the employment of the personal, social and other resources of people affected by crises with the aim of coping with what has happened and quickly reducing its impact on daily functioning and coping. “At the national level, events that endanger the life or health of many people and resolution of which requires prompt coordinated activities of several authorities or persons involved by them are considered crises or emergencies,” Kiik said.
“By today, psycho-social support in crises has indeed been set out as a mandatory component in the emergency response plans of all authorities in charge of managing crises – the Police and Border Guard Board, the Rescue Board, the Health Board and the Environmental Board,” the minister noted. He said that the Social Insurance Board was the leading institution who in 2019–2022 would develop at the victim support system the capability to also organise provision of psycho-social support in various emergencies and in the case of events with large numbers of victims or a wide impact. “And in the course of that the Social Insurance Board is going to become a centre of excellence for psycho-social support in crises,” Kiik explained. He said that, at present, victim support officials located all over Estonia offered support to people who had gone through traumatic events. The main focus of the support is on people who have gone through traumatic events who may have fallen victim of crime or experienced violence, disregard or bad or inhuman treatment in another way.
Kiik said that the Social Insurance Board as a centre of excellence would also advise other authorities to ensure better noticing of a need for support when building up the systems of support for their people, that is, the people who help others. “This competence should be created in the first half of 2020, and thereafter other authorities responsible for responding to crisis events will be constantly advised,” Kiik explained.
During the open microphone, Peeter Ernits took the floor.
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