The Icelandic RED CROSS

USD 162,000

After the economic crisis of 2008, pressure on the Icelandic Red Cross helplines increased considerably. The Directorate of Labour and the Red Cross cooperated to recruit volunteers to operate helplines and to provide additional support to people affected by the economic upheaval.

Aurora Foundation sponsored three projects aimed at helping those people who were experiencing difficult times in the wake of the economic crisis.

  • The Helpline 1717 is free and open 24 hours for those who are looking for help because of anxiety, depression, sadness or suicidal thoughts. There were close to 30, 000 calls made to 1717 in 2008, signifying a considerable increase from the year before: during October and November of 2004 there were 40% more calls than during the same months in 2007.
  • Groups operated by the Red Cross offer psychological support, counselling, education and free seminars to assist people tackling new and/or altered situations. To improve their work, the Red Cross uses, amongst other things, experiences gleaned from an earlier economic crisis in Finland.
  • Around 27 visitors came each day to the Vin Day Shelter in 2008. The number increased in the last quarter of 2008, as did the number of people coming solely for meals. Stress, pressure, uncertainty and anxiety were affecting society as a whole and especially those who were already vulnerable prior to the crisis, such as those with mental health