– It’s often embarrassing to share painful and difficult thoughts, but if you push your challenges forward, they often become more difficult.
This is what City Advisor for Health, Elderly and Citizen Services Robert Steen (Labor Party) told Avisa Oslo.
He is very worried that the mental strain caused by the pandemic will only get worse for Oslo residents who are now worried about Russia’s war in Ukraine. And now the City of Oslo and the City Council received a report on the consequences. They received messages about Russian children being abused, about the level of tension between the different groups rising and that people feared war would spread in Europe.
Many also feel the tension of the brutal images and stories that come from war zones.
– Many Oslo residents, who have experienced the war themselves and are traumatized, are at risk of being traumatized again. This can apply to people from Syria, the Balkans and Afghanistan, or war veterans. And some of our nursing home residents are starting to talk about the horrific experiences they had during World War II, said Oslo health council member Robert Steen.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. This was about two weeks ago. Steen’s main concern was that the war, like a two-year pandemic, would drag on.
And if you’re feeling scared, struggling to stay focused, have little energy or have other symptoms that may stem from the influence of the situation mentally, the Oslo Health Council has a clear message:
– There’s help.
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Warn not to wait
In particular, Labor politician Steen pointed out that the city council has set aside an additional 116 million to strengthen resources on mental and mental health.
The money is distributed between the newly hired psychologists in the district, the emergency room, the Student Organization in Oslo, the volunteer organization and Ung Arena – an offer for children and youth.
The health council emphasizes Fast mental health care deals The city of Oslo has.
It is available in the 13 districts of Oslo, and in the description of the offer, it says the following:
“Here you can get help, without waiting too long, so that problems don’t develop. The goal of treatment is for you to experience improved coping in daily life, a better quality of life and fewer symptoms ».
When asked how long people would have to wait if they contacted the district to get someone to talk to, he replied that it wouldn’t be long before they followed up on the investigation.
– Of course, it also affects the district’s capacity if everyone makes contact after this interview. But the longer you let things go, the greater the need for help and expertise, Steen continues.
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Long waiting times for non-private psychologists were the theme of last year’s parliamentary election campaign. Oslo Psychologists Association leader Birgit Aanderaa also warned that the growing line of psychologists was hitting those with the fewest resources for personal help.
As Robert Steen sees, contacting a low threshold service early can help reduce the burden on these support services.
– Should there be a larger and more comprehensive investment in mental health care?
– We now estimate that 116 million Oslo municipalities have set aside, alone increasing our capacity by 35 percent. It is the largest investment in a Norwegian municipality, health council member Steen said on behalf of his own city council.
At the same time, he hopes that more openness about mental health issues can help prevent such problems.
– There is more openness than 40 years ago, but I still experience that many have little understanding of mental health issues. Therefore, we should all think about how to talk to our loved ones and contribute to more openness. Try to be open about what you think and use low-threshold bidding, says Steen.
He himself described the current situation as unique.
– The world has experienced a pandemic before. And there have been wars in the past, including a wider world war than the war in Ukraine. But in modern times, two such global crises never overlap.
A large number of questions
Lasse Heimdal, secretary general of SOS Church, emphasized that many people are worried about the war in Ukraine.
Heimdal explains that far more people are calling 24-hour centers than ever before, and nationally there can be between 800 and 900 inquiries a day. The pressure was so great that they couldn’t take everyone.
– We can probably answer 400 of them, so we need a lot of volunteers. Talking to them doesn’t just take five minutes and it feels good. We noticed during the pandemic that there was a greater degree of seriousness and heavier conversation. Now also talk more about war and conflict.
– What we are experiencing now may be the same as wars and pandemics that activate or reactivate the anxiety and insecurities that people have. What’s happening now could be an extra cloud among all the other clouds you’ve been using. Many people struggle with sadness, depression, and loneliness, and many also experience that life is meaningless to live.
Church SOS is particularly concerned with encouraging people to care for their children.
– They get a lot of media views, which is hard to control because so many people access them. It is important that children receive constant confirmation that they are loved and that they are safe, especially during these times. Spend time with children, help them talk about it. Not all children are good at sorting out emotions such as insecurity, or telling them the way they are. There are gruesome images on the internet that evoke emotions, but cannot be expressed in words, Heimdal said.
– This is a terrible time. For many children, this is their first encounter with the fact that the world is not only good. They will have many experiences like that, but we have to teach them to bear these feelings.
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