Publié 28/02/2024|Modifié 18/01/2024

Medical and Psychological Emergency Units (CUMP)

Psychological trauma from a terrorist attack or a dramatic accident requires special support and compensation for the traumatic consequences that flow from it. As with all traumatic events, terrorist attacks as experienced by victims and their loved ones cause individual and collective physical and psychological damage that can be felt immediately or later on and can be acute or chronic.
Psychological damage requires emergency care, just as physical damage does.
The rapid intervention of psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses, specifically trained and integrated in to emergency medical units (SAMU-SMUR) must ensure satisfactory immediate and post-immediate support for victims to avoid the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. In the first 24 hours of a traumatic event, this specialized medical support is vital to helping victims regain their bearings. In a catastrophic type of situation, the death of one or several persons can fill witnesses and particularly loved ones with dread and potentially make the event traumatic.
In France, emergency medical and psychological support for victims of traumatic events such as natural catastrophes and terrorist attacks is provided by the Medical and Psychological Emergency Units (CUMP — Cellules d’Urgence Médico-Psychologique).
CUMP professionals are available to you at the site of the event, in healthcare facilities and at reception centers for families and those involved. The support they provide is aimed at attenuating the psychological impact of the events you have just experienced. They can also provide post-immediate care to lay the groundwork for later therapeutic care.
CUMPs are present in every French administrative department under the auspices of the SAMU, and can be reached from France by dialing 112 on a cell phone or 15 on a fixed-line telephone.
Problems may appear in the days, weeks and months following the trauma in the form of anguish, feelings of uneasiness or insecurity, irritability, sleeping difficulties, and depression. Distressing thoughts, sensations, images, and sounds of the event can occur and re-occur night and day, making family and work life difficult and can affect human health.
Adults of all ages can be affected, as can teens and children, and changes in behavior, fear, difficulties falling asleep, or problems concentrating at work or school can occur. In all such cases, it is vital to seek specialized professional help to avoid post-traumatic psychological disorders. Don’t hesitate to consult a public-sector mental health professional at a university hospital, military hospital, specialized psychiatric hospitals, medical and psychological care centers, or municipal health centers, private sector services that provide public health services, or the private health sector, such as a private doctor's office or clinic, etc. There are special consultations for so-called "psych traumatic and/or victimology" post-traumatic psychological disorders.
Your general medical doctor, the CUMP and non-governmental organizations will be able to help you and direct you to mental health professionals with whom they are used to working, and who are specialized in providing care for post-traumatic psychological problems.