Norway’s Red Cross is to give psychological support to all those directly or indirectly involved in the Oslo and Utøya attacks to help them deal with their feelings.
Psychologists recommend that those who have been affected by the attacks should talk to others about what they have experienced. They should share their feelings after the incident, focus on physical activities and avoid consuming alcohol.
Are Holen, professor at NTNU and stress researcher, thinks “there is great work being done to help those affected by the disaster – and it is also important to think about the people involved who can easily withdraw.”
The most affected ones are those who witnessed the attack themselves, for example, those who supervised the children on Utøya or who rescued them from the water, even those who should have joined the camp but couldn’t make it. All these people need mental support from Red Cross specialists who are present all over Norway.
“We are all shaken, whether we are professional or not. The reactions are completely normal, but it is the duration that can make the difference”, Mr Holen tells NRK.
He also says that these will last for at least a week, but the situation will change quickly for the majority of Norwegians.
According to Are Holen, some of the symptoms that could indicate a need for medical help include poor concentration, little ability to escape from the usual activities, poor sleep, or feelings of guilt.
“The most important tool of all is the proximity and openness – the good conversation. Some people in their homes or among friends they can talk to – others are not, and then you might want to seek professionals’ help”, advises the researcher.
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