More Support for Children’s Mental Health Services

In a recent government announcement, an agreement has been reached to increase mental health services for children.

Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Education and Children’s Affairs, has signed an agreement with SÁÁ, an Icelandic organisation that offers treatment and counselling for individuals suffering from addiction.

The agreement is intended to increase support for SÁÁ’s services for children after the difficulties posed in the last years by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increasing services and reducing wait times for children who live with relatives suffering from addiction.

The agreement is one point in the measures taken by the government to increase government support for children and their families, consistent with laws on integrated services for children’s wellbeing.

Regarding the new agreement, Minister Ásmundur Einar Daðason stated: “To promote children’s success, it is not enough to focus only on them, but also the environment in which children grow up. The problems of relatives can become the problem of children in one way or another if the children and their families are not considered in a wider context with effective and early support.”

Projects to be supported in the agreement include an additional psychologist for children with parents served by SÁÁ, parents admitted to care facilities or receiving outpatient services will receive more information on children’s psychological services, and children’s psychological services are now set to begin at the same time as the parents’ alcohol and drug treatment.

Read more about mental health and Icelandic youth here.

Nine Flown to Reykjavík Following Accident

TF-GRÓ Icelandic Coast Guard Helicopter

Following an accident on Suðurlandsvegur yesterday, January 3, nine individuals were flown to Reykjavík for medical care. The accident in question occurred shortly before 2:00. According to initial reports, the individuals are in stable condition.

The accident occurred east of Fagurhólmsýrar on the South Coast.

An SUV and a smaller vehicle were involved in the incident. In total, nine passengers were aboard the vehicles.

In total, two coast guard helicopters and one coast guard surveillance plane were dispatched. The two helicopters were sent directly to the scene of the accident, taking the first six individuals. The coast guard plane landed in the town of Höfn, taking the final three.

The accident was attributed to the weather, which has left much ice on the roads in the past days. Following the crash, a stretch of Suðurlandsvegur was closed to traffic, but has since been re-opened.

Both vehicles are reported as badly damaged. The individuals are reported to have suffered serious injuries as well, but are in stable condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Possible Restrictions for Travelers from China

keflavik airport COVID-19 testing

Epidemiologist Guðrún Aspelund says that border screenings are being considered for travelers from China, given the recent rise in infections there.

In a recent statement, Guðrún indicated that healthcare systems throughout Europe are under stress, and that possible measures at the Icelandic border may be taken to relieve pressure other nations as well.

Regulations on travel are set to be lifted soon in China, meaning that Chinese residents will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in China from foreign travel. This relaxation has healthcare experts throughout Europe concerned that a wave of Chinese travelers may take advantage of the relaxed regulations. The recent easing of restrictions has contributed to the uptick in infections, and some Western nations have also expressed concerns that authorities there have systematically under-reported figures.

Guðrún further stated: “We have less information coming from there regarding numbers for infections, hospitalizations, and cases. There is concern that the situation in China is quite bad and that it could affect Europe. There are also concerns of new varieties coming from China, though it is entirely possible that they may have other origins as well.”

Other nations, including the US, India, and the UK have also introduced mandatory testing for Chinese travelers. Chinese authorities have criticized these travel restrictions as being politically motivated.

A final decision on the possible restrictions is expected by the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Engineer Wages Advertising War Against Aluminium Factories

ISAL aluminium smelter

Electrical engineer Reynir Þór Eyvindsson has bought advertising time for a period of some years on national broadcaster RÚV during the holidays, with the intention of reminding the nation of some inconvenient truths about aluminium production in Iceland.

His advertisements come in response to what he identifies as a preponderance of aluminium industry PR in the media during the holidays, which could be seen as “greenwashing” an activity that has a worse environmental impact than many may think.

Aluminium production is a highly energy-intensive industry which has found a home in Iceland thanks to the supply of green electricity. Environmental critics, however, have pointed out that the use of geothermal and hydroelectric power do not simply neutralise the environmental impact of this industry.

iceland aluminium
Screensot – RÚV

The text of the advertisements reads in English: “Icelandic Aluminium Plants: Pay very little in taxes. Emit twice as much CO2 as the entire automobile fleet.  Around 1.5 million tonnes of toxic sludge are produced annually. This could fill the outdoor swimming pool at Laugardalur 1,500 times over. Happy New Year, Reynir Eyvindsson.”

In a statement to Morgunblaðið, Reynir said: “This is a highly political issue. Not everyone agrees that this highly polluting industry should be here.”

Reynir admits that advertising slots on RÚV during the holidays are rather expensive, but he says he doesn’t have much else to do with his money. He pays for the advertisements out of his own pocket, but recognises that they may not stand up to the production quality of the aluminium industry’s professional advertisements. Nevertheless, he counts the money as well spent.

Read more about protecting Iceland’s environment here.