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The Role of Psychological First Aid in Times of Crisis

What has been the toughest crisis you’ve been through? How did it affect your work life and personal life? And what did you do to pull yourself from it? We experience a crisis in many forms. Obvious ones are hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Then there’s traumatic life crisis such as abuse, vehicle accidents, […]

Psychological First Aid
Psychological First Aid

What has been the toughest crisis you’ve been through? How did it affect your work life and personal life? And what did you do to pull yourself from it?

We experience a crisis in many forms. Obvious ones are hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Then there’s traumatic life crisis such as abuse, vehicle accidents, untimely deaths, violence, and suicide. Aside from that is the personal crisis like a relationship breakdown, job loss, financial issues, and health-related problems. 

A wide range of distressing events happens every day and when life forces us into such situations, we don’t go hiding and allow our emotions to grip us. The very least we can do is help each other by figuring out ways to get out of a crisis.

Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an ingenious, effective and practical set of interventions to help fellow human being suffering from crisis events. It is designed to help kids, adults, parents, and the entire community by providing emotional and psychological support in order to maximize their psychological functioning.

 “Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approached, built on the concept of human resilience that aims to reduce the symptoms of stress and assist in a healthy recovery following a traumatic event, natural disaster, public health emergency, or even a personal crisis.” said by Minnesota Department of Public Health.

In the aftermath of a disaster, the usual focus of the first responders is to maintain a safe and stable physical health for the casualties – leaving no time to immediately attend to mental health implications like trauma. But an increasing number of rescue and recovery experts discovers that a mental component should be added to emergency response to prevent the long-term mental impact of the disaster.

Shona Whitton of Red Cross said, “This (PFA) is something we should be ensuring people know what to do. Mental health implications of disasters can last a really long time. If we can get people to provide good support like psychological first aid, it will make people’s recovery after disasters a lot quicker.”

Learning PFA enables you to help others and care for yourself not only in times of disasters, as well as dealing with the everyday crisis. 

How does Psychological First Aid work?

Psychological First Aid is not a substitute for professional counselling and treatment, however, it works like a traditional first aid does – an immediate help. PFA is not something that only professionals can do. in fact, anyone including government officials, community workers, and perhaps yourself can learn and provide PFA.

PFA training is based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorses “Look.Listen.Link” model.

The methodologies and language used in Psychological First Aid Training will allow you to feel less helpless around crisis situations and more confident to play an active role.

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