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Web-based technology for psychosocial preparedness 

The terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011 were the most devastating attacks in Scandinavia after the Second World War. The events involved a car bomb in Oslo and an armed gunman storming a summer camp, killing 77 people, mostly of them young people.

After the attacks, the Norwegian Department of Health launched an extensive effort to improve the quality of crisis intervention and to prevent violent radicalisation. The Regional Centre – Violence, Trauma and Suicide Prevention (RVTS East, located in Oslo), has used innovative technology to develop web-based educational portals with specific profiles. This blog identifies important experiences from this interdisciplinary collaboration.


Extract from the web toolbox video developed by the RVTS

In 2011 the Norwegian Department of Health asked all the Regional Centers (RVTS) to develop and implement training programmes, networks and evidence-based practice to strengthen competence within crisis intervention. RVTS East has, as a result, developed an interactive, practical web toolbox for psychosocial preparedness; The web toolbox for psychosocial preparedness covers: Community crisis teams and disaster preparedness; Challenges before, during and after deployment for military personnel and humanitarian workers; Terrorism and prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism.


Information is relevant for a wide range of professionals and also includes self-help tools for stress management 

A family and child perspective is embedded in all themes covered by the learning portal. The web toolbox offers updated knowledge in a practical and tool-based way that is applicable for a wide range of professionals within the health sector, both civil and military first responders, municipalities and other relevant target groups. Self-help tools for stress management are an integrated part of the toolbox.

RVTS East collaborated with a professional film company to increase and enrich the learning experience of the web toolbox. This collaboration made it possible to show realistic scenarios and tell case stories relevant to the field of psychosocial preparedness. In our experience the multidisciplinary work involved in developing innovative technology increased creativity by challenging implicit rigid ways of understanding knowledge dissemination. Therefore, the fear of losing complexity that sometimes may damper the enthusiasm for ‘popularisation’ of knowledge within the health professions, are not called for. Moreover, the straightforward and communicative texts and creative visual solutions may instead evoke professionals’ curiosity and eagerness to learn more.


The web toolbox includes films, photos and animation to help visualise complex issues

By including films, photos and animation, complex issues can be visualised and subjective experiences can be conveyed more realistically. Profiles, cases and storytelling all take advantage of the strength of a narrative. Films portraying first-hand survivors’ or caregivers’ experiences elicit an emotional response, and thereby increase identification and insight. The inclusion of interactive elements also engages users. Communication, technology, and knowledge interact and inspire each other. When challenging the tradition and predictability of the professional discourse, the result can be a creative and novel product.

Supportive networks have assisted in both the development and maintenance of the web toolbox, such as the ongoing collaboration with the Norwegian Red Cross; the support group after the July 22, 2011, 22terror acts, the Veteran network, Glenbarr Consultancy, etc.


Read more about the web toolbox in the April/May issue of the Crisis Response Journal. The portal will be available in English by late April, simply select ‘English’ on the web page.

Belinda Ekornaas, Nils Petter Reinholdt work with RVTS East Oslo 

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