Psyco-social activities


In the different phases of emergency management, constant psycho-social support was guaranteed to the assisted population, starting with the elders, children and adults who showed significant unease about the condition they were experiencing. The intervention - activated according to the guidelines of the "General criteria on psychosocial interventions to be implemented in disasters" of June 13, 2006 - was divided into several phases of operation.
In a first phase, the psychologists supported the families of the victims during the search for people under the rubble and the recognition of the bodies. Here, each family member was assisted by a psychologist. This allowed to give a more human aspect to the procedures of recognition and certification and to facilitate activities of the scientific police, the Carabinieri and the Local Health Authority, who managed the technical activities. During the first moments of the emergency, the psychologists succeeded in creating a relationship with the relatives of the victims.

In a second phase, the psychologists worked in the reception areas, to support the population who had lost their homes. At the central level, the intervention was organized by Di.coma.C, in order to respond to requests from the different areas.

The activity was carried out by the voluntary associations of civil protection sector that worked with the aim of strengthening and supplementing the responses of the Regional Health System and social services of the City of L'Aquila. The initiatives in support of the population were aimed at fostering the processes of self-determination, recognizing the right of each person to make conscious choices for their own well-being, promote the dissemination of knowledge and activate self-protective behavior.

"La terra tretteca...Ji no!" is from the Abruzzo slang. For those who do not know the dialect: " The earth trembles ... I don't!", is the title of a cycle of meetings started on June 15, 2009, in the reception camp of Tempera. The project was developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the Asl 4 of the Abruzzo Region, the association Federazione Psicologi per i Popoli and the Department of Civil Protection.
Seismologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology present in the reception areas explained how and why earthquakes occur, with particular attention to the specificity of the Abruzzo area, affected by the earthquake of April 6th.
The project stemmed from the idea of helping the people who experienced the earthquake to understand the phenomenon from a scientific point of view and to deal with its emotional impact. During the training sessions, besides seismologists, there were psychologists from the voluntary civil protection association "Federazione Psicologi per i Popoli" from  L'Aquila ASL 4  and from Ingv.
The meetings allowed citizens to retrace the seismic history of the Abruzzo region and learn more about the seismic risk. It was also described the evolution of the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila and the behaviour to adopt in the event of an earthquake.

The opportunity to work in groups to facilitate the elaboration of individual experience related to the earthquake was offered. During the first meeting, on the basis of the needs that emerged, there were scheduled activities for different age groups, oriented to the theme of emergency and reconstruction.

Information. The appointments have an average duration of 2-3 hours depending on the number of participants. To communicate where and when the meetings are held, dedicated information boards are displayed in the camps.
Calendar of meetings.


Calendar of meetings

15 June 2009 - Tempera, 8.45 p.m.
22, 23 June 2009 - Cagnano, 8.45 p.m.
24, 25 June 2009 - Onna, 8.45 p.m.
29, 30 June 2009 - Pizzoli, 6.00 p.m.
1, 2 July 2009 - Villa Sant'Angelo, 6.00 p.m.
20, 21 July 2009 - Arischia, 21.00
22, 23 July 2009 - Paganica, 9.00 p.m.
27, 28 July 2009 - Monticchio 1, 9 p.m.
29, 30 July 2009 - Campo San Demetrio, 9 p.m.

“Ambiente terra. Ambiente bambino” is a project developed after the L’Aquila earthquake of April 6th, 2009 to support children and their families returning to normal life. The project is promoted by the Civi Protection Department together with the Clinic of Childhood and Adolescence Neuropsychiatry of the University of L'Aquila and the cultural association "Via Caecilia".



The project has a duration of two years and aims at creating model for prevention and for post-traumatic stress disorder (DPTS). The project focuses on the study of adaptation process of children and their families to the earthquake. In fact, after the earthquake the area of L’Aquila and neighboring countries has changed radically in the urban, architectural and social space: this has caused psychological diseases to children but also to the population in general, which require psychological, social, cultural and environmental intervention.


Also, the aims of the project are:

  • Foster the civil protection culture, intended as model of solidarity, respect and civic sense
  • Knowledge about socio-cultural and socio-economic characteristic of Abruzzo among the population
  • Promoting the expression of children's needs
  • Preventing child and adolescent disease                          

Partecipants. Different professional figures are involved in this project. Such as child neuropsychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, educators, animators and Civil Protection experts and technicians. Prof. Enzo Sechi, Director of the Clinic of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, coordinates the activities.

The three phases of the project


First phase: Started on June 9th, 2009 with the activation of advice centers in the reception areas and in the hotels along the shore. In the reception area of San Sisto – COM 1 has been greated a playground for children and youths, open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 01:00 PM. During June and July 100 children coming from various camps benefitted from the space. At the end of June, an activity of intervention and monitoring started in San Salvatore Hospital.

In semptember the initiatives of this first phase ended, where worked also experts from the Association of Family Paediatricians, Navy, Air Force and Italian Army psychologists and volunteers from the Associations of Psychologists for Peoples and Cisom - Italian Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta.

Second phase: Started at the end of October 2009. During this phase, experts from University and the Civil Protection Department together with the cultural association “Via Caecilia” operated in primary and secondary schools with a clinic and formative program for students and also a series of lectures opened also to parents, professors and local population.

Third phase: Aimed at the diffusion of data collected, also with speeches addressed to the population.


The results of the first year of activity

It aims to evaluate the results of the first year of activity of the project "Ambiente terra. Ambiente bambino" the study day organized in L'Aquila Saturday, October 23, 2010, in the Aula Magna of the Guardia di Finanza School in Coppito.

The project - launched on 29 June 2009 - is promoted by the Civil Protection Department together with the Clinic of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry of the University of L'Aquila and the cultural association "Via Caecilia".

The seminar has been an opportunity to assess the first results of the project that focused on the study of the processes of adaptation to the earthquake event by children and their families, aims to develop models of prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The profound changes that affected the territory of L'Aquila from the urban, architectural and social point of view following the earthquake of April 6 have caused a psychological discomfort to the population.

For this reason, the project aims to increase citizens' knowledge of the historical, cultural and socio-economic characteristics of their territory, to promote the expression of needs by young people and to prevent child and adolescent hardship.

"Ambiente terra. Ambiente bambino" also has the objective of promoting and enhancing a culture of civil protection, understood as a model of solidarity, respect and civic sense.

The project - carried out by various professionals, and in particular child neuropsychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, educators, animators and experts and technicians of the Civil Protection - is coordinated by the Director of the Clinic of Neuropsychiatry of childhood and adolescence Enzo Sechi.

A day to evaluate and compare the results of projects launched in schools in Abruzzo after the earthquake of April 6, 2009.  This is the aim of "La campanella suona all'Aquila", the conference scheduled for October 16, in the Aula Magna of the Guardia di Finanza base in Coppito and organized by the Regional School Office for Abruzzo, with the collaboration of the Civil Protection Department.

The seminar examines 11 projects organized during the school year 2009/2010 in primary and secondary schools of the seismic zone addressed to students, teachers and parents.  The school  represents one of the privileged places where a community affected by a disaster can restart.

After the greeting of the authorities, including the Deputy Head of Department Franco Gabrielli, the seminar started with a speech on demographic data and qualitative data of the projects and then continued  with the presentation and discussion of the five psycho-social projects, and the six pedagogical projects.   Among them, there are workshops aimed at improving the knowledge about the risks of the territory, and initiatives for psychological issues with the aim to create counselling centers for parents and teachers.

Associations of psychologists and institutions promoted the project, such as the Department of Civil Protection, INGV - National Institute of Physics and Volcanology, and the University of L'Aquila.  Among the projects, the Department created the "Multimedia Platform" and collaborated on the creation of "La terra tretteca...Ji no" with the Ingv and "Ambiente terra, ambiente bambino" with the Clinic of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry of the University of L'Aquila.

The seminar aims to give a wide understanding on results and criticalities that emerged in the implementation of the projects.  Thus, the aim is to build a methodology of shared intervention, aimed at connecting living spaces with a community that wants to start again.