South Korea’s government announced on Monday that it would begin its trauma support programs for the survivors, victims, and bereaved families of the Halloween crowd crush on Saturday in Itaewon, Seoul.
Booths for mental health support will be set up in the altars at Noksapyeong Station of Yongsan and Seoul Plaza so that mourners suffering from the trauma of the horrific tragedy can receive counseling services. Moreover, the ‘Mind Calming Bus’ will be operated at the site. Any witnesses or citizens needing moral support can contact the ‘Crisis Hotline (1577-0199)’ for psychology consultations.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare will provide mental health support by contacting people who seem to be suffering from relatively severer trauma, including the survivors and the families of the deceased. “We will do our best in collecting the contact numbers of the bereaved and have professional mental health supporters offer face-to-face or telephone counseling to them,” said a ministry official. “We will make sure that they can get support from the government in the long term.” The ‘Mental Health Support Group for Itaewon Tragedy’ will be installed within the National Center for Disaster and Trauma.
The government said it would provide financial support for the treatment of the injured. All treatment costs, including those not covered by health insurance, will be first paid by the health insurance budget. Public officials will be matched one-on-one with 33 seriously wounded survivors to give the support they need in real-time. Those slightly injured will also get help from public servants.
The government announced that the bereaved families would receive up to 15 million won for funeral expenses. If necessary, the operation hours of cremation facilities will be extended, and temporary cinerators will be set up. It has promised to make enough space for the victims to lay in the state by using 54 funeral halls for national disasters across the capital area.