28.09.2009
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JSC RusHydro announces that more than 400 people from the village of Cheryomushki and the Company’s Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP have received psychological assistance at RusHydro’s Psychological Support Center

367 adults and 82 children have received assistance at the Psychological Support Center that was established by JSC RusHydro (ticker symbol: HYDR; MICEX, RTS and LSE) following the accident at the Company’s Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP. The Psychological Support Center is an integral part of the system that provides psychological assistance to the population, and the Center was established by the Company with the goal of normalizing the socio-psychological climate in the village of Cheryomushki.

To provide appropriate psychological assistance, RusHydro has closely cooperated with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Khakassia. With the support of these ministries, during the first week after the accident, psychologists with experience in treating and offering psycho-therapeutic assistance to bereaved individuals arrived in Cheryomushki from Abakan and Novosibirsk. Prior to the start of the academic year, invited specialists from Novosibirsk held study seminars for local psychologists and school and kindergarten teachers from the village of Cheryomushki. Participants in the seminars received information about preventing nervous breakdowns and methods for working with children from the families of deceased and injured workers. 43 teachers and 29 psychologists underwent training as part of these seminars.

The Psychological Support Center has a staff of 25 specialists from Abakan, Sayanogorsk and Cheryomushki. The psychologists visit specific affected families to monitor the psychological state of people, as well as to identify their unique needs. To date, psychologists have visited 51 families and regular psychological assistance is being provided to 24 of them.

Work at the Psychological Support Center is headed by the Elena Aksenova, the director of  JSC RusHydro’s subsidiary The Corporate Hydro-power University.  Ms. Aksenova is an associate in the Psychology Department at Moscow State University and holds a Ph.D. in psychology.

The staff of the Company’s Psychological Support Center have continued the excellent work started by Ministry of Emergency Situations’ psychologists, who began work the day after the accident (August 18th, 2009) and stayed in Cheryomushki until Ministry of Emergency Situations personnel were withdrawn from the power station. "Experts from the Ministry’s Emergency Psychology Center, headed by Julia Shoigu, worked at critical points following the accident: funerals, wakes and during the process of identifying bodies. Before completing their work at the power station, Ministry psychologists met with their colleagues from the Company’s Psychological Support Center and familiarized them with characteristics of the bereavement process and the impact that stress can have on people. As a result, the transition went quite smoothly. This unprecedented work experience occurred spontaneously, but quite successfully," Ms. Aksenova noted.

Three psychological help "points" have been organized for affected adults: a psychological release room at the power station itself for staff of the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP, a psychologist’s office at the local polyclinic and the Psychological Support Center to service the local population. People go there for help in overcoming their grief and to release psycho-emotional tension, as well as to learn information about the consequences that stress can have on the human body. In addition, there is a 24-hour hotline that provides emergency psychological help.

On August 25th, 2009, a children’s psychological center — staffed by trained psychologists — opened in Cheryomushki. The Center is focused on helping children cope with the psychological after-effects of the accident through specially developed programs. Within the scope of these programs, the children participate in games, watch films, play in the fresh air, learn psychological relaxation techniques and draw and participate in art therapy.  All of these activities give children the opportunity to vocalize and express  their emotions. For adolescents, special group and individual programs are being developed and will be implemented.

The Psychological Center plans to continue holding seminars for teachers from local educational institutions, who, in light of the stressful situation, are often in need of psychological assistance themselves.

Based on experience garnered from other serious accidents and disasters, it usually takes a person 1.5 — 2 years to recover from grief resulting from the death of a loved one. The Psychological Support Center will stay open as long as its services are needed by people who either directly or indirectly suffered from the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP.

All search and rescue work at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP has now been completed, and active restoration work has started. Highly-skilled specialists from across Russia are involved in working to restore the power station.

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