Where Is Our Psychological First Aid?
I first learned of this term at the National Wellness Conference. Tramaine EL-Amin was a keynote speaker. She is the Assistant Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives National Council for Behavioral Health. Her talk was titled ” Mental Wellbeing: Always Important, Now Essential”‘
I was really drawn to the term “Mental Health First Aid” and realize how important it is for us to be as familiar with this term as we are with “physical first aid”.
A recent trip to the Emergency Room made me think about how good we are at physical first aid but not so good at psychological first aid. A major “scar” of this pandemic will be many of us needing psychological first aid. How good are we at that ?
In this podcast I share my “AHA” moment while being in the emergency room for hours. I also share my new eBOOK on Mental Well-Being and Resilience- A Self-Care Guide You can get it HERE
*** Photo credit for Podcast features my grand dog Harper Maas. Photo taken by Kelsey Maas(Wolfe) (:)
What Is Psychological First Aid?
Over the past 100 years, there has evolved a simple yet effective helping process we now refer to as psychological first aid (PFA). The American Red Cross, the American Psychological Association, and even the United Nations have recognized the importance of PFA.
PFA may simply be defined as a supportive and compassionate presence designed to do three things:
1) stabilize (prevent the stress from worsening)
2) mitigate (de-escalate and dampen) acute distress
3) facilitate access to continued supportive care, if necessary.
PFA does not entail diagnosis or treatment. Nevertheless, like physical first aid, it requires basic training to be effective and reduce the risk of inadvertently making things worse (Everly & Lating, 2017).
PFA is no panacea, nor is it a substitute for mental healthcare, but years of research and experience has shown it can be a useful tool to assist people in acute distress when applied by those with proper training in PFA. ( George S. Everly, PhD, 2018.)
How to Find Out More About Psychological First Aid
CLICK HERE for Mental Health First Aid information and training that is a skills-based training course to teach participants about mental health and substance-use issues.
Bisson, J. I., Brayne, M., Ochberg, F., & Everly, G. S., Jr. (2007). Early psychological intervention following traumatic events. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 1016-1019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/ajp.2007.164.7.1016.
Everly, G.S., Jr., Brelesky, G., & Everly, A.N. (2018). Rodney the Rabbit makes a friend. RSI.
Everly, G.S., Jr., & Lating, J.M. (2017). Johns Hopkins guide to psychological first aid. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
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