. . .
  • 2a Papanikoli, Sidera Halandri, Athens | 13 Fragon, Thessaloniki
  • Athens:+30210-6463367 | Thessaloniki:+302310-510010

PSYCHOSOCIAL INTERVENTION AFTER A CATASTROPHIC EVENT

What We Do

Psychosocial Intervention, following a disaster that has affected an entire community, is implemented by Merimna mental health professionals after receiving a request for assistance from the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health. The initial intervention is focused on crisis management and then, when feasible, moves on to organize the long term support of students, educators and parents.

Since Merimna was established in 1995, the Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center has undertaken, at the request of the Ministries of Education and Health, 4 psychosocial interventions at schools in the following communities that were affected by a natural disaster or traumatic event:

The intervention was undertaken by Merimna in cooperation with the educators and psychologists who attended a funded training program EPEAEK II (The Operational Program Education and Initial Vocational Training” of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Science) entitled “Sensitization and Training of Health and Education Professionals who Support Children who have Experienced Serious Illness and/or a Death in their Lives”.

This accident resulted in the deaths of 7 high school students and Merimna conducted an intervention in cooperation with 9 schools in the Farkadonas district over a period of three years.  Many activities were implemented with students, educators, parents and municipal employees.  This collaboration facilitated the processing of the traumatic experiences they had experienced and was recorded in the documentary “Pathways through Loss”, which is currently used to train educators and mental health professionals to identify and effectively respond to children who have had traumatic experiences.

After constructing the labyrinth all together The students walked through, while reflecting on the pathways through loss and trauma that they experienced together, before their graduation from the Lyceum of Farkadonas, 2007.

Merimna undertook the evaluation and management of the psychological impact of the disastrous fires on the students and teachers of 120 schools in Pyrgos and Amaliada, Peloponnese. Within the framework of the intervention, seminars and workshops for teachers, school administrators and mental health professionals in the region were carried out. In addition Merimna personnel offered an annual training program “Crisis Management in Schools” with the intention that the administrators and teachers who took part could develop a comprehensive crisis management program for implementation in each of their schools.. Finally Merimna created an interactive program, with a focus on the life cycle, for children and adolescents.  “A Tied Green Thread Wrapped on a Tree…”  This activity gave students, who had been exposed to the fires, the opportunity to write, draw and construct a tree that could help them to tell their stories.  They then shared their stories with students from other schools in the area.  All the materials and instructions for this activity were created and provided by Merimna.

Drawings and stories of trees by elementary school students in Pyrgos, Ilis.
23-07-2018
Disastrous fires occurred in Eastern Attica

Disastrous fires occurred in Eastern Attica

24-07-2018
Helpful information posted to Merimna's Facebook page

Uploaded to Merimna’s Facebook page, the publication “After a Disastrous Fire; Helpful information for parents”. This post received more than 4,500 visits.

25-07-2018
Mobilized the Merimna Crisis Management Committee

Mobilized the Merimna Crisis Management Committee and created an action plan for the months of August and September. The committee immediately communicated with the Ministry of Education regarding the availability of Merimna to provide support training to teachers, before the beginning of the school year.

26-07-2018
Issued press release with Merimna’s actions

Issued a press release regarding Merimna’s actions in response to the fires.

27-07-2018
Interview on the “First Program” of ERT

An interview was conducted on the “First Program” of ERT with Evi Bitsakou, a psychologist from Merimna’s Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center, regarding the impact and support of children who were affected by the fires.

31-07-2018
Interview with Eleftheria Ralli, Head Psychologist of Merimna’s Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center

An interview was conducted with Eleftheria Ralli, Head Psychologist of Merimna’s Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center, on the ERT 1 “Morning Update” and on the radio station “RED”

14-08-2018
Article publication by Danai Papadatou in the EFSYN.GR newspaper

Publication of a two-page article by Danai Papadatou in the EFSYN.GR newspaper, entitled: “How do we support children after a disaster” http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/pos-stirizoyme-ta-paidia-epeita-apo-mia-katastrofi

31-08-2018
Activities funded by UNICEF (1-31 August)

The following activities were funded by UNICEF:
1. Operation of the Bereavement Counseling Support Center for Families of the Victims
2. Operation of a Telephone Support Line for families with children who were affected
3. Writing and printing of the following two informative leaflets:
• “Supporting students after a disastrous event: Guidelines for teachers”
• “Supporting children after a disastrous event: Guidelines for parents”

06-09-2018
Workshop for 24 schools

A workshop was presented for 24 schools from the affected area and was attended by 177 pre-school and elementary school teachers and school counselors at the Nea Makri Cultural Center.

08-09-2018
Counseling and advice on appropriate intervention was presented to educators at 2 schools in Attika (7 & 8 September)

Counseling and advice on appropriate intervention was presented to educators at 2 schools in Attika that had experienced the loss of a student or teacher in the fires.

30-09-2018
Merimna continues to provide free psychological support to families of children (1 - 30 September)

Merimna continues to provide free psychological support to families of children who have experienced the loss of a loved one or whose lives were directly threatened by the fires.