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Adolescents' experiences of psychosocial support after traumatisation in a school shooting

Authors

  • Kalle Murtonen,

    1. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: kalle.murtonen@thl.fi
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  • Laura Suomalainen,

    1. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: kalle.murtonen@thl.fi
    2. Helsinki University and Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Henna Haravuori,

    1. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: kalle.murtonen@thl.fi
    2. Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Kellokoski Hospital, Tuusula, Finland
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  • Mauri Marttunen

    1. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: kalle.murtonen@thl.fi
    2. Helsinki University and Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
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Abstract

Background:  In November 2007, a student shot and killed eight people and himself at Jokela High School, Finland.

Method:  Availability and experiences of psychosocial support were investigated using data (N=231) collected with a questionnaire 4 months after the event.

Results:  Female gender, severity of trauma, psychiatric disturbance and post-traumatic distress were associated with receiving psychosocial support. Over half of the students with a high level of trauma-related symptoms reported immediate support as having been helpful. Additionally, support from family and friends was available to a majority of students.

Conclusions:  The factors associated with not receiving support or not feeling helped should be studied further for possible implications on crisis interventions.

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