Novelty in Vilnius: Psychologists Provide Counselling at the Scene of an Incident

The capital has introduced a service that has no analogues in Lithuania – professional psychologists provide counselling to people experiencing a crisis, an accident or other difficult situation in life right at the scene of an incident.

The psychologists work in harmony with the ambulance team that arrives at the scene, providing emergency counselling not only to the victims but also to nearby relatives or employees at the scene, if necessary. While the quarantine continues, psychologists will provide counselling remotely to adapt to the situation. This is a new service provided by the Mental Health Centre of Vilnius city together with Vilnius Ambulance Station.

“In the most difficult phases of life, it is not bad to feel weak or not have all the answers: in crisis situations such as car accidents, incidents, the loss of a loved one, it is natural to get scared or get lost. It is very good that such service of emergency psychological help is being provided in Vilnius practically at the scene of an incident. The best specialists of the capital will provide help and support when it is most needed,” said Edita Tamošiūnaitė, Vilnius Deputy Mayor.

The quarantine has only further highlighted the need for such a service and prompted the service to start earlier than planned, and such specialists are highly needed in a crisis situation where emergency medical care alone is not enough.

“There is a fundamental difference between widespread services where psychologists and volunteers counsel people with psychological difficulties on self-help psychological helplines and when this service is actively offered to people affected by a sudden disaster or shock practically at the scene of an incident. During the quarantine, assistance is provided remotely when ambulance dispatchers or ambulance staff connect the person in need of this assistance with our psychologists. In order to receive this service, you should simply call 112 and contact the ambulance dispatcher,” says Marcinkevičius, Director of the Mental Health Centre of the capital.

It cannot be ruled out that in the current tense situation unsafe for doctors and medical ambulance professionals, the urgent help of psychologists may be needed.

Psychologists at the Mental Health Centre are on call 7 days a week for the third week in a row, 12 hours a day, so far only during the day. In the future, it is planned to provide assistance around the clock. Even though the service has been introduced only recently, a number of calls have already been received in the short term due to a wide range of crisis situations and the service will be further provided.

Vilnius ambulance doctors notice that in addition to emergency physical assistance to a person, immediate psychological assistance is also needed for nearby relatives. Emergency counselling by psychologists is especially needed in the event of an accident for relatives shocked by an accident, suicide, serious injury or sudden death.