Crisis management refers to a group of actions that includes the detection of a crisis, the apt planning and the proper preparation for handling the crisis’ consequences, the planning of the intervention and their materialization before, during and after the crisis.
Psychosocial intervention in the crisis
The crisis may have severe consequences in the mental health, functionality and physical health of the persons afflicted. Common consequences are the extreme stress, fear, uncertainty, physical and mental problems related to trauma, while the social interactions in the afflicted community are also affected needing the immediate reaction of the state.
The psychosocial intervention is aiming at the decrease of the psychological and psychosocial symptoms or indications of maladjustments of the individual as a result of serious and destructive events.
The psychosocial intervention is based on:
- needs, problems, risk and possibilities/skills assessment,
- providing a supportive framework
- assessing the interventions and replanning
The NCSS (PD 22, GG 18/7-2-2006, article 9, par. 2) has the responsibility of establishing and mobilizing the Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in times of crisis, within the framework of planning and implementing operational actions providing psychosocial support to vulnerable groups and situations of emergency.
The NCSS is part of the National Civil Protection Plan “Xenocrates Plan” (MD 1299/2003, GG 423 Β΄/10-4-2003) and the National Crisis and Risk Management Mechanism (Law 4662/2020, GG A 27 - 07.02.2020). It is activated following an order by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection through the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
In which cases are RRT activated?
- They are activated for handling crisis, mass destruction (natural & human), serious accidents, shipwrecks and emergency situations with a large number of fatalities.
What do the RRT provide?
- Psychological and social support at an individual, family and community level
- Assisting on the assessment and recording the psychosocial needs
- Facilitating the actions for covering any emerging needs
How do the RRT respond?
- On the spot
- Carrying out risk assessment
- Assessing needs and acting for their immediate coverage
Who are the RRT staff?
- The RRT are staffed, mainly, by psychologists and social workers. If necessary, they are staffed by sociologists and administrative employees.
What is the duration of the RRTs actions?
The intervention is provided for as long as needed.
- Decreasing stress
- Handling persons and/or groups at risk (e.g., pregnant women, elderly, persons with long-term illnesses)
- Assistance in developing effective ways for handling the crisis (e.g. dealing with unpleasant feelings, supportive networks)
RRT past interventions:
13/4/2003: Road accident with a large number of fatalities in the area of Tempi
14/8/2003: Earthquake in the island of Lefkada
27/9/2004: Road accident with a high number of fatalities in the area of Asproneri Lamias (Maliakos)
15/12/2004: Bus High jacking in the area of Pallini, Attica
13 & 25/7/2005: cases of hepatitis and tubercular meningitis in the Aspropirgos N.Zoi area (Roma camp)
14/8/2005: Air accident in the area of Grammatiko
25/8/2007: Wildfires in Ileia
8/6/2008: Earthquake in NW Peloponnese
5/3/2009: Fatal wounding of a police officer outside two schools in Attica
21/8/2009: Wildfires in NE Attica
23/8/2010: Murder of an underage child in Arkadia
4/2/2014: Earthquake in Kefallonia
15/11/2017: Floods in Mandra and Nea Peramos
23/7/2018: Wildfires in the area of Mati, Attica
3/2018: Earthquake in Thessaly
RRTs were stand by for:
2000: Olympic and Paralympic Games
28/7/2005: Wildfires in Rafina
6/9 & 16-18/9/2005: Organisation by the Hellenic Air Force of an international air show in Faliro and Tanagra
23/12/2005: Armed robbery in a Mall in Kallithea
9/8/2020: Floods in Central Euboea
4/9/2020: Fire in the Detection and Identification Center of Moria in Lesvos
Participation in Readiness Exercises:
24/11/2005: Participation in the European readiness exercise for handling the avian influenza
2014 – to date: Participation in the annual readiness exercises of the El. Venizelos airport
Trainings and seminars
- Planning and organizing trainings and seminars for the staff of the RRT in cooperation with the competent actors.
- Planning and organizing readiness exercises for emergency situations (fire, earthquake) for the personnel of the NCSS shelters where vulnerable persons reside, in cooperation with the responsible agencies.
During the COVID-19 pandemic
The NCSS operational actions are adapted to the situation of the pandemic and aim at:
- the protection of public health through Directives/instructions for the psychological handling of this situation of emergency through the helplines “197” and “1107”
- the protection of the health of those who reside in the NCSS shelters through the establishment of the “Health Prevention & Promotion Team” as well as a plan in the occurrence of a case.
- the psychosocial support of vulnerable groups (domestic violence victims, unaccompanied minors who have to remain at home due to the curfew) through:
- The application (‘HELPίδα”) for domestic violence victims
- Fighting stigma handbook: The NCSS translated in Greek the handbook of the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC) for the prevention of the social stigma related to the coronavirus contamination
Article published in the “New Health” scientific magazine entitled: Domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)