May 3rd in Belgrade was a day that will stay with us, as just a few moments had the power to upend our lives completely. In the shooting at the "Vladislav Ribnikar" elementary school in Vračar, eight children and a school guard lost their lives, while six children and a teacher were injured. A 7th-grade student of the school mentioned above committed the crime.
All the children who were killed were born between 2009 and 2011.
In the context of this tragedy that has shaken our community, facing the heavy emotional burden it carries is inevitable. At this moment, we want to emphasize the importance of psychological support and providing free SOS lines as crucial resources for citizens facing the consequences of a traumatic situation.
This text mainly refers to young people, who often find themselves in a more vulnerable position during such events, and who need adequate support and understanding. Considering the context's seriousness and complexity, this text aims to provide insights into available psychological advice and SOS lines, offering a way toward emotional recovery and strengthening mental resilience.
Below you will find information about psychological centers and free SOS lines that you can contact. If you know someone who needs support, please share this information.
The Institute for Mental Health and the Clinic for Psychiatry opened SOS phones for psychological help and support
After the tragedy at the "Vladislav Ribnikar" elementary school, the Institute for Mental Health opened two SOS phone lines to provide psychological help and support to the families of the victims and witnesses. All persons directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy can get help through the phone numbers +38163 8681757 and +381 638682217.
A team of experts has been formed at the Clinic for Psychiatry of the Clinical Center of Serbia. It will be available to provide support to all persons in need of psychological help. The phone number for support at the Clinic for Psychiatry is +38166 8309854, and the phone numbers for scheduling appointments are 011 3662124 and +38163 310723.
Hemofarm Foundation: Free anonymous support 24/7
Due to the tragedy at the "Vladislav Ribnikar" elementary school, experts from four Special Hospitals for Psychiatric Diseases in Vršac, Kovin, Novi Kneževac, and Gornja Toponica will assist all those in need of support, as announced by the Hemofarm Foundation on its social networks.
Psychologists' and psychiatrists' help is available through the "Unbreakable" SOS number 0800 001 002. The announcement states that support is free, anonymous, and available 24/7.
SOS Women's Center offers free psychological help
The SOS Women's Center in Novi Sad is known for providing support services for victims of gender-based violence, including a helpline, mediation, legal support, psychological counseling, and counseling for youth.
In their social media post, they offered free psychological help and support. Every working day from 5 pm to 9 pm, it is possible to call the phone number 021/422-704, and email addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com are also available.
Psychological support center offers support to parents
The Psychological Support Center has offered free support to all parents from the "Vladislav Ribnikar" Elementary School, emphasizing that empathy from the entire community is essential now.
This center in Belgrade provides online and in-person counseling services, focusing mainly on growth and development groups and support groups (panic attacks, anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation).
Parents can contact the support and counseling groups with professional consultants on the phone at +38164/800-20-05 or by email at psihološko.firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of telephone lines for psychological assistance
The Ministry of Family Care and Demography announced that the Counseling Center for Marriage and Family of the City Center for Social Work in Belgrade had provided psychological support through phone calls at 011 2752 224 and 011 2650 093 during working hours from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, to support families affected by the tragedy at the "Vladislav Ribnikar" Elementary School.
They point out that teachers, students, young people, and all other citizens who need support due to the tragedy can seek help.
In the future, after providing psychological support, therapeutic work with family members and all those affected by this tragedy will be a priority in the work of the Counseling Center for Marriage and Family of the City Center for Social Work in Belgrade.
On Wednesday, the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade announced opening two telephone lines: +38163 868 17 57 and +38163 868 22 17, to support families affected by today's massacre and teachers and students who need psychological assistance and support.
A team of psychologists and psychiatrists from the Institute for Mental Health will provide professional support. A team of experts available to support everyone in need has also been formed at the Clinic for Psychiatry of the University Clinical Center of Serbia.
The phones available at the Clinic for Psychiatry for telephone support are: +38166 8300 854, as well as for scheduling: 011 366 2124, and +38163 310 723.
MediGroup provides support to school children and parents during May
MediGroup, a private healthcare system, offers free psychological support to school children and their parents during May at their Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, and Subotica health centers.
They note that modern-day teenagers often face challenges, including high expectations, unlimited access to various content, peer pressure, and bullying, which can lead to high anxiety levels and difficulties coping with growing up. In response to the recent tragic incident in a Belgrade elementary school, MediGroup has offered this support. The contact numbers for MediGroup health centers are:
- Belgrade 011 4040 100,
- Novi Sad 021 4040 10,
- Niš 018 4510 100,
- and Subotica 024 555 025.
A doctor and psychotherapist offer free support to parents affected by the tragedy
Dr. Marko Jovašević, a doctor and psychotherapist who graduated from the Medical Faculty of the University of Belgrade in 2011, is offering free counseling, support, and recommendations to parents of children from the "Vladislav Ribnikar" elementary school, emphasizing that he is available at any time of the day. He mainly deals with emotional, relational, marital, family, and emotional problems, and problems that manifest through symptoms such as anxiety, depressive episodes, and phobias through a systemic approach.
In light of the importance of collective coping with difficult emotions, we encourage you to utilize available resources and support each other in recovery. This text aims to promote awareness of the importance of psychological support in society, particularly in times of deep sorrow and trauma.
Let this situation remind us to be stronger as a community when we unite. By relying on psychological resources and crisis hotlines, we can build a path toward healing, strengthen emotional resilience, and support all those in need.