Psy + in Accumoli with Intersos for the victims of the earthquake

From Thursday 25 August Psy + Onlus was present in the field set up by Civil protection in Accumoli to offer psychological support to earthquake victims and rescuers. Among the services offered, in addition to individual, family and group interventions, InterSos e Psy + they have activated a child friendly space and a library available to everyone. The first community empowerment interventions aimed at rebuilding the networks of relationships and enhancing the local resources of resilience were also activated. Fully integrated into the network of victim services coordinated by Civil protection, the operation of the professionals of Psy + ed InterSos it has made it possible to offer support to the numerous families who have lost goods and affections and who are experiencing dramatic days, in which the memory of the earthquake is relentlessly recalled by the succession of aftershocks.

Central Italy earthquake - since August 2016, psychological support and community empowerment

On the night of 24 August 2016, after a series of seismic events in the provinces of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno and Perugia, a 6.0 magnitude quake with its epicenter in the municipality of Accumoli caused 299 deaths and 388 injuries. Since 25 August 2016 Psy + Onlus has been present in the camp set up in Accumoli, making itself available, together with INTERSOS to ensure professional interventions in support of people who have suffered the earthquake, as well as their rescuers, through the constant presence of 2-4 volunteers in the Accumoli camp and the activation of a traveling team in charge of visiting the most isolated hamlets.

Central Italy earthquake, psychological support and community empowerment in numbers

On June 16, 2018, the "Let's reconstruct people" project ended with the "Festa dell'Arrivederci" in the Accumoli sports field, where it all started on August 25, 2016, after the earthquake in central Italy had upset the local communities . Since then there has been work, projects, effort but above all the construction of a special relationship with a wounded but tenacious and resilient community. From the psychological first aid intervention in the field set up by the Civil Protection in Accumoli, to the listening, orientation and support activities provided in San Benedetto del Tronto, to the subsequent accompaniment of the beneficiaries in the places of origin of Accumoli and Amatrice, we have continuously offered psychological counseling, psycho-pedagogical and community empowerment services, also taking care of the little ones with artistic-expressive workshops and summer camps.

Tomas and Terremoto

Run across"Paths of community resilience" is an ActionAid Italia / PsyPlus Onlus project supported by Charity FundIntesa Sanpaolo

Tomas and Terremototells the perspective of a child in the presence of an earthquake, an “ineluctable and unpredictable” giant that “shakes and devastates”.

The pencil of Kanjano has grasped the fundamental aspects of what operators and psychologists have been able to observe in three years of field work, from emergency to post-emergency, from the Sibillini and Laga mountains to the Marche coast, always alongside the most affected populations. 

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, with Intersos, PsyPlus proposed psychological support paths aimed at processing the trauma. Subsequently, with ActionAid, we thought of Pe.R.Co.rrere - Paths of community resilience, a project realized thanks to the support of the Intesa Sanpaolo Charity Fund. When the population returned to their own territory, returning from temporary shelters on the coast, people had to deal with an "unknown", deformed, mournful space.

The meeting spaces and the usual daily routine were now lost; in the prefabricated housing modules, we were confronted with the mourning of the places and with the disappearance of customs that have always marked our existence. Attentive to the requests for psychological support, we have observed a progressive change over the months, a decrease in post-traumatic symptoms and an increase in adaptation difficulties, in parental and relational problems, and in experiences of isolation.

We focused on containing post-traumatic manifestations and empowering communities, stimulating active participation in reconstruction and trying to offer recipients tools to counter the sense of precariousness and experiences of abandonment. Particular attention was paid to the school, pillar of society, a place for "reconstruction of the future", a context in which psychological and training services were promoted, in Arquata del Tronto, Camerino, Serravalle del Chienti and Muccia.

Right in the schools we met many girls and boys like Tomas. With the involvement of local associations, the project contributed to forming more open and cohesive communities, through participation practices and education for active citizenship.

In this sense we accompanied the friends of the Accumoli Music Band, closely following their intense activity, throughout Italy, guided by the bass drum that bears the motto “Why does the music continue”. With them we realized the Accumoli musical days, which hosted students from all over Italy at Accumoli, engaged in masterclasses held by musicians from the National Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Wiener Philarmoniker. With girls and boys, adolescents, elderly and elderly people from Accumoli, we collaboratively produced the documentary "Letters from Accumoli”, Testimony of the fact that another narration of the places of the earthquake is possible, places where it is once again possible to live.

In Ussita, with local associations, we contributed to the rediscovery of Planting,ritual whose tradition had been lost for the past 20 years; in Pescara del Tronto we supported the population in remembering life before the earthquake and to trace elements for reconstruction in the book “A journey into the memory of Pescara del Tronto”; in Amatrice we have facilitated the bottom-up evaluation of the emergency response. In the 18 months of Pe.R.Co.rrere, 948 interventions were provided in the activities of Mobile Proximity Unit, Psychological Support Desk, Expressive Artistic Workshops, Psycho-Pedagogical Counseling and Community Empowerment, involving 346 people in the territories of the crater Lazio and Marche.

In the participation courses 288 people were involved in focus groups, individual interviews, open workshops. In January 2020 the Pe.R.Co.rrere project ended. As operators and operators we know that closures bring with them natural complexity in terms of processing, even in ourselves. At the end of such an important journey, however, we know that the people benefiting from our interventions will return to being "solid and surprising" like the mountains on which they live, that the time spent together will be an important piece of their and our identity; quoting Claudio Magris, we are “Tempo I represent”: not only «our present, but also that labyrinth of different times and eras that intertwine in a landscape and constitute it».

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