Rescue team seeks more volunteers

Updated: 2012-10-13 08:02

By Yu Ran in Shanghai (China Daily)

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The first emergency rescue team in Zhejiang province to offer psychological help to relatives of victims of natural disasters or accidents is seeking more volunteers.

The team, launched by the Red Cross Society of China's Zhejiang branch in September, offers immediate mental assistance for relatives.

It consists of experts mainly from the Third People's Hospital of Huzhou, which specializes in research on psychological problems. "It is a great beginning for us to gather a group of professionals to help people with mental problems after serious accidents or natural disasters," said Fang Xianzhong, a senior officer of the society's Zhejiang branch.

Fang said the team was seeking more volunteers with certain psychological counseling experience, as most of the current members are full-time professors or doctors with demands on their time.

Before the team was formed, no such group of experts was available to offer mental help for mental trauma victims.

Qian Mincai, leader of the emergency rescue team and director of the Third People's Hospital of Huzhou, said: "I've been appointed to offer mental counseling services to victims of earthquakes, floods, and the Wenzhou train crash last year."

Qian was among the volunteers involved with rescue operations after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan province in which more than 69,000 people died. He tended to many suffering from psychological trauma.

"We have to estimate the different conditions of the patients first and apply methods to help them ... which is the essential process of being cured," said Qian.

He said more attention has been paid to mental trauma suffered by those who have lost relatives in accidents as more people became aware that psychological damage is harder to recover from than physical injuries.

A woman from Wenzhou, who lost a relative in last year's rail accident in the city in which 40 people died and more than 190 were injured, said she had benefited from receiving psychological help.

"I was so sad for the first two months, waking up crying after the accident but I ... expressed all my feelings to a psychological counselor."

The woman said it is essential to offer psychological help after any accident.

The team started off with a few members and wants to help more people.