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  • Hoitotyön tutkimussäätiö (2018). Äkillisesti kuolleen henkilön läheisten tukeminen. Hoitotyön suositus (online). Hoitotyön tutkimussäätiön asettama työryhmä. Helsinki: Hoitotyön tutkimussäätiö, 2018). Luettu 12.12.2019. Saatavilla:
  • Holopainen, L. (2019). Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö: Sosiaalipäivystys, psykososiaalisen tuen suositus. Luettu 12.12.2019. Saatavilla:
  • Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö (2019). Äkillisten traumaattisten tilanteiden psykososiaalisen tuen kehittämisen työryhmän loppuraportti. Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriön raportteja ja muistioita 2019:46. Luettu 12.12.2019. Saatavilla:

Kirjalliset lähteet:

  • Dyregrov K., Dyregrov A. (2008). Effective Grief and Bereavement Support. The Role of Family, Friends, Colleagues, Schools and Support Professionals. Lontoo: JKP
  • Hammarlund, O. (2004). Kriisikeskustelu. Kriisituki, jälkipuinti, stressin ja konfliktien käsite. Tallinna: Tietosanoma.
  • Hedrenius S., Johansson S. (2016). Kriisituki. Ensiapua onnettomuuksien, katastrofien ja järkyttävien tapahtumien käsittelyyn. Tallinna: Tietosanoma. Suom. Strellman U. Ruotsinkielinen alkuteos Krisstöd vid vid olyckor, katastrofer ock svåra händelser: att stärka människors motståndskraft (2013).
  • Poijula, S. (2018). Resilienssi – Muutosten kohtaamisen taito. Helsinki: Kirjapaja.
  • Haastattelu Tampereen kriisikeskus Osviitan kriisityöntekijä Tarja Saurion kanssa Tampereella 10.10.2019.
  • Haastattelu Huoma – henkirikoksen uhrien läheiset ry:n kokemusasiantuntija Tuula Backmanin kanssa Tampereella 10.10.2019.
  • Muu Surevan kohtaaminen -hankkeen kokemusasiantuntijoilta ja surujärjestöjen työntekijöiltä saatu kokemusperäinen tieto.

What is crisis support, and who provides it?

When we talk about helping a person in crisis, it is important to differentiate between two points:

  • Statutory crisis support provided by a professional and psychosocial support. . It consists of an initial assessment, acute crisis intervention, psychological processing, necessary social work, and active monitoring. A bereaved person can obtain statutory crisis support from the social and crisis emergency services in their own hospital district. If necessary, a bereaved person can also be referred to a third-sector crisis centre.  
  • Present support and ensuring practical needs and safety. Crisis support, which involves the psychological processing of a family member’s death, is the duty of a professional qualified in crisis intervention. However, above all, immediately after an event, the bereaved person needs compassionate presence and someone to ensure their basic needs and safety. Such help must be provided by anyone encountering bereaved people.  

Ending the peak of the crisis at the centre of attention

Crisis refers to a situation in which the operating and survival methods of the person, who has encountered a crisis, no longer work or are insufficient in the changed situation. A crisis is an abnormal situation, which is normal to cause strong reactions. A person in a crisis often requires third-party help.

Emotions and feelings during a crisis are unique. Both unbearably strong reactions and the total lack of reactions can occur. Third-party help is often needed for dealing with even practical matters because the person’s operating capacity is weakened during a crisis.

Ending the peak of the crisis is at the centre of attention in crisis intervention. Crisis intervention involves the calming presence of a professional, ensuring basic needs (such as eating, drinking and sufficient rest), ensuring the continuity of everyday life and, at a later stage, reviewing the past events. In addition, crisis intervention workers help to word feelings and normalise reactions. At the same time, the bereaved person’s survival methods, support networks and the possible need for further help are assessed.

Psychosocial support also involves monitoring the bereaved person’s situation, if necessary, in the long term. For example, a person who has shockingly lost a family member may require help even several years later.

How can I help a person in crisis?

Even if you are not a crisis intervention professional, you can still provide support to a person who has lost a family member. Your duties include ensuring that the bereaved person has the opportunity to obtain crisis support from a crisis intervention professional.

How to encounter a bereaved person?
The same advice provided on the 'Encountering a bereaved person' page also applies to encountering a person in crisis. Again, presence and listening to the bereaved person's needs are essential.
How to encounter a bereaved person?

Guide, help, keep within the scope of support

  • Guide the bereaved person to obtain help from crisis intervention professionals. If possible, organise crisis support immediately at the death scene or when informing the person about a death that has occurred. Ask the bereaved person whether you can disclose their details with social emergency services or a crisis centre.
  • Ensure the bereaved person’s basic needs and safety. Ask whether you can call for any of the bereaved person’s family members to help. If necessary, guide the family members with helping. It is important to ensure that the bereaved person eats, drinks and sleeps. For example, never let a person drive who has just found out about the death of their family member.
  • Ask what the bereaved person needs. The starting point of help is the bereaved person’s own wishes. However, remember that a person in an acute crisis cannot always assess their own need for help, and the need for help may also change. Therefore, it is important to offer help repeatedly, and information about support channels are also provided in writing.
  • Keep the bereaved person within the scope of support. Psychosocial support should be a continuum, which several assisting people participate in. A bereaved person should be actively referred to one service after another because the resources of a person in crisis are often limited.
Surevan kohtaamisessa on tärkeää myötätunto

How to ensure that a bereaved person has access to statutory crisis support?

In sudden cases of death, the emergency services, police, rescue services, primary care providers and the social and crisis emergency services, and, if necessary, third-sector operators collaborate to help family members. In addition, it is the responsibility of municipalities and hospital districts to arrange 24h primary healthcare on-call services, which are usually centralised to hospitals.

Psychosocial support and crisis support are part of primary healthcare on-call services. In addition to this, hospitals can also have mental first-aid workers, priests, and deacons.

If you are a professional who encounters bereaved people in their work, referring them to crisis support and social support are your statutory obligations.

In addition to social and crisis emergency services, crisis support is offered by third-sector organisations. For example, the Finnish Association for Mental Health and the Finnish Red Cross organise crisis support. Find out where your municipality’s closest crisis centre is. The Finnish Association for Mental Health also maintains a crisis hotline.